As mobile Wi-Fi grows more prevalent, Internet security difficulties and public Wi-Fi hazards are likely to worsen. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon free Wi-Fi in favor of tethering yourself to a desk. The great majority of hackers are merely looking for easy targets, and following a few simple steps should keep your data safe.
- Make use of a VPN: When connecting to your site over an unprotected connection, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot, a virtual private network (VPN) connection is required. Even if a hacker manages to get into the middle of your connection, the data will be strongly encrypted. Although most hackers are looking for an easy target, they will likely delete stolen data rather than putting it through a long decryption procedure.
- Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use: Even if you haven’t actively joined to a network, your computer’s Wi-Fi automation is still exchanging data between any networks within range. There are precautions in place to prevent this tiny communication from endangering your privacy, but not all wireless routers are created equal, and hackers may be a smart bunch. Keep your Wi-Fi turned off if you’re only using your computer to work on a Word or Excel project. As an added bonus, your battery life will be significantly extended.
- Keep Yourself Safe: Even those who take all reasonable public Wi-Fi security safeguards occasionally have problems. In today’s linked world, it is simply a fact of life. Due to this, it’s essential to maintain a reliable Internet surveillance system set up and operating on your computer. These tools can continuously monitor your files for viruses and automatically scan newly downloaded files. The best consumer security software will also provide corporate protection options, allowing you to simultaneously safeguard your servers back at the office and yourself when you’re out and about.
- Use Secure Sockets Layer Connections: Although you probably won’t have access to a VPN for regular Internet browsing, you can still add an extra layer of security to your communication by using SSL connections. On websites that you often visit or that ask you to input credentials, turn on the “Always Use HTTPS” option. Your login and password for a random forum may be the same as they are for your bank or company network, so keep in mind that hackers are aware of how people reuse passwords. Sending these credentials in an unencrypted way might allow a skilled hacker access. Most websites that ask for login information or credentials include a setting for “HTTPS” someplace.
- Turn off sharing: You probably won’t want to share anything when using a public Internet connection. Depending on your OS, you may disable sharing from the Control Panel or System Preferences. Alternatively, you can let Windows disable sharing automatically by selecting the “Public” option the first time you join a brand-new, unprotected network.