Access to the Internet is like having milk from the refrigerator at home, you can have it whenever you want. Similarly, home internet offers a connectivity that is smooth, unperturbed and easy. However, when it comes to staying connected when roaming around, it is not as easy or smooth as it is at home. There are times when you might get access to a free Wi-Fi network in other cases you’ll have to resort to more expensive alternatives like mobile data. In the first case, using public Wi-Fi is nothing short of driving in death well. Your personal data and private information are at risk the most in this case.
A public Wi-Fi is fundamentally less safe than a home Wi-Fi network since one cannot determine who set it up, or maybe a potential hacker could be using the same connection. Under perfect circumstances, one must not use a public Wi-Fi network and use the phone’s data or their smartphone as a hotspot. However, there might be times when none of the two is possible. In such dire conditions, follow these simple steps to make your experience relatively safe.
Make sure you trust the place you are connecting to
None of the public Wi-Fi networks is totally secure, one can be hacked on a home Wi-Fi network. However, when you opt for public Wi-Fi hotspots, then go for places you trust such as Starbucks, or search the best internet providers near me, some internet service providers like Spectrum have relatively secure Wi-Fi hotspots across the nation to keep you connected. These Wi-Fi networks are less susceptible since the companies offering them are already making money out of it.
I would suggest you connect to a limited number of Wi-Fi networks as possible, that too under crucial circumstances, or when in a new city; connect to network offered by a book or coffee shop that you have visited before or can trust. As the number of networks you sign up to increases, there is a higher possibility that you might be exposed to a potential threat or a place that is not treating your data as securely as it should.
HTTPS is the key!
Google Chrome’s Algorithms let you know when a website is secure or not. Chrome always prompts when you hit an unencrypted HTTP connection, instead of an encrypted HTTPS one. Google labels the former as Not Secure. It is suggested that you pay heed to that warning when it comes, especially when connected to a Public Wi-Fi network. While browsing over HTTPS-encrypted websites, any unwanted entity cannot eavesdrop on your data or browsing choices, however, on a less secure HTTP connection, it is easier for a potential hacker to watch your activity and using your bank account, booking an Uber or sharing your location can be a risky move.
Avoid using Airdrop or Sharing Files
You should consider cutting off sharing files or using Airdrop for that matter when using a public internet with complete strangers connected to it. In order to switch your sharing settings off, follow these simple steps. For a PC, got to Network and Sharing Centre> Advanced Sharing settings> Switch off File and printer sharing. In the case of Macs, head to System Preferences>Sharing > deselect everything. Head to Finder next> Click AirDrop> Select Allow me to be discovered by No one.
In case you’re using iOS then just look for AirDrop, and switch it off. Voila! You’re all done. Now no one can spy on your files or send you one that you don’t need.
Installing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your devices is one of the easiest ways to stay safe on public Wi-Fi. It helps encrypt data traveling to and from your device for a safer browsing experience. The VPN makes data eavesdropping a nightmare for someone on the network or operating it, by connecting your device to a secure server, keeping your private information and important data safe.
The next-generation WPA3 Wi-Fi security protocol will be open for public use in a few years with greater built-in protections to make browsing and data sharing more convenient and safe.
Make sure you don’t download or install something new over a public internet connection. This could be a major threat. However, again I can’t emphasize it enough, how crucial it is to avoid a public Wi-Fi network as much as possible in order to make sure you stay out of unnecessary trouble.