Whether you are away from your home internet connection or just want to save your mobile data MBs when on the go, there are public Wi-Fi hotspots available at different public places that could be used when needed. But, do you really know that connecting to an open hotspot that is not password protected can be injurious for your privacy and personal data? Yes, it could be.
Risks of infecting your laptop, smartphone, or stealing your identity are always there when you are connected to a public or open Wi-Fi hotspot that can cost you more than your imaginations. No doubt, using a free Wi-Fi hotspot or an open network sounds like a bonus, but you have to be cautious about your online security to keep your personal and private data protected from hackers and cyber criminals. Here is how to stay safe when using Wi-Fi hotspot either at coffee shop or in a public library.
Pick a Secure Network
Always pick a secure network when it comes to surf the web on a free or open network because not all public Wi-Fi hotspot is shaped equally. A network waiting in the background for connecting can be harmful. For example, instead of using a free Wi-Fi taking too much time for connecting can be worse than a network available at coffee shop, library or shopping mall etc. Opt for networks that are quick to connect and are secured as well. You will surely appreciate the security of such networks and the performance as well.
Lock down Your Computers Settings
Not only mobile phones but most of the people connect their laptops and other mobile devices to public hotspots when they want something most important done quickly. And if you are one of them and also using windows operating system, there are a lot of precautions you can take to keep your data and information safe and secure. For example, turning the File Sharing option off in your laptop can be a perfect layer of security not to become a victim of cybersecurity threats.
Be Your Own Hotspot
In this era of advanced mobile technology, it is very easy to turn a smartphone or laptop into personal Wi-Fi hotspot in order to enjoy internet on other devices you own or want to use. So, instead of using a risky and unsecured public network, one of your group members can designate a device as a hotspot to connect other devices with that. For this purpose, you could sign up for unlimited mobile WiFi hotspot plans to save a lot of pennies while using your own device as mobile hotspot. Believe or not, it would be fast and more secure as well.
Ask to Connect
Set all your mobile devices (either a laptop or smartphone) ask before they connect to an open network. In this way, you will have a chance to review the network for security and privacy available to connect. There is nothing hard to do when you want to set your device’s Wi-Fi settings for ask to connect’ but you will need to follow settings like “go to settings, then search for Wi-Fi, and check for the option "Ask to Join Networks." If you want to do the same for Android smartphone, you should go for Settings, the look up for Wi-Fi settings, then Advanced and find Wi-Fi notifications to turn it off.
Choose the Right Websites
Surfing the websites with HTTPS protocol should be one of your priorities when surfing the web using a free or unsecured network at public places. HTTPS protocol in the website URL shows that details or information submitted to the website are encrypted between your computer and the server and are not useful for any third party. Always double check when entering your most personal details and information such as social security number or credit card details to a website or online store in order to prevent issues like ID theft and data breach etc.
Practice Good Internet Hygiene
Practicing good internet hygiene is one of the major online security tips recommended by the professionals.it is something most important to take care of beyond tools that promise to protect your privacy and security online. For instance, avoid sending or receiving sensitive and confidential details or data when you are using an open Wi-Fi hotspot or unsecured internet connection outside the home or workplace. However, you can use such networks to read breaking news or to watch your favorite TV show. But, remember to avoid executing any online banking transaction or payment over public hotspots.
Keep Your Antivirus and Antimalware Up to Date
Keeping your Antivirus and Antimalware updated with latest version is another best way to stay safe when using Wi-Fi hotspot or public networks. Because, outdated software and apps on your smartphone or laptop are an open invitation to hackers that they can use to steal your personal data by hacking the network connected to the device.