HomeData EngineeringData EducationHow to Safeguard your Data and Device when using public Wi-Fi?

How to Safeguard your Data and Device when using public Wi-Fi?

Our working methods have altered. Many office workers are no longer permanently confined to an office due to the growth of remote and hybrid working.

Some of us work from cafés, coffee shops, or even unusual venues like a boat or a van because, while working from home is a great choice for many people, sometimes it’s wonderful to vary things up.

Then there’s the chance that you’ll be travelling for work or vacation and want to use your laptop or smartphone while you’re on the go, say from an airport, a hotel lobby, or a conference location, to check your emails, social media, banking applications, or online-shopping accounts.

When you do this, there’s a good chance that the public area you’re in has free Wi-Fi that is accessible to everyone.

The establishment makes it possible for patrons to access the internet, which is advantageous to them and might persuade them to hang out in public areas for a longer period of time.

 

If you’re working from a coffee shop and are satisfied with the connection, for instance, you might decide to remain longer and purchase additional drinks or snacks while you’re there.

The nature of public Wi-Fi networks, however, is that, despite their utility, anybody can use them, and the data being transferred isn’t as safe as it would be on your home or business network.

If you use public Wi-Fi carelessly, your login names, passwords, bank account information, and other personal information could all be at risk. This could happen because the network is insecure or because a malicious hacker has set up shop on the same network and is directing data entered by others through channels they can see.

Here are some actions you can take to protect your data while using public Wi-Fi from cybercriminals, hackers, and other privacy concerns.

Consider the source of your connections

When you’re at an airport, you check the list of Wi-Fi connections and notice something called “Free Airport Wi-Fi”; this seems reasonable, right? People sometimes have to wait for extended amounts of time in airports, so it makes sense to connect a phone or laptop to the internet while avoiding the expense of using your own data.

But how can you know that’s actually an airport Wi-Fi network? Since thousands of individuals can pass through an airport each day, it’s likely that a criminal set up the network in an effort to catch people off guard. There is a risk that a thief may take a lot of data if even a small percentage of them connected to a false Wi-Fi network.

All of this was accomplished by establishing a network, using relatively straightforward, store-bought equipment, and letting users join to it.

The person in charge of that false network could be able to observe what data is being entered with the correct tools, which could result in the data being stolen. Because of this, it’s critical to confirm the legitimacy of the network.

Watch the websites you visit and the information you enter

You must register to use many public Wi-Fi networks, which ask for personal information. Your phone number or email address might be included in this information. Consider utilising a backup email account if you don’t want to take the chance that the Wi-Fi provider will keep your data or use it for marketing.

You may also need to create a password to use the Wi-Fi on some networks. Use a different password for each account you have if this is the case, especially if the password is linked to your email address. By using that strategy, you ensure that none of your other accounts connected to your email address may be accessed in the event that the passwords are somehow exposed.

Additionally, you should be cautious about the information you share on public Wi-Fi networks and refrain from using them if you need to share any sensitive data, such as usernames, passwords, or financial information.

Because of the nature of public WiFi, it is possible for activities to be observed by others, which is especially true if the website is not secured with https. However, just because a website begins with https doesn’t imply it’s secure, so you should be careful about the data you provide.

After you stop utilising the network, forget about it

If you move around a lot, it’s possible that you connect to the same networks on separate occasions. For instance, you might do this while travelling through an airport on both ends of your journey, or you might go to a chain of coffee shops with locations throughout the country.

Your device might automatically reconnect to a network or network provider that you have previously connected to. Although it may be simple to overlook this and you may assume the network is secure, it is still possible that anything has changed since your last visit.

To help keep yourself safe, you should tell your device to stop automatically reconnecting to previously used networks, or at the very least, to forget about them. If you so desire, you may manually reconnect to the network, but only after being assured that you wish to connect to it.

Make use of a VPN

Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid utilising Wi-Fi on a public network. Utilizing a virtual private network is another action you can take to help keep your information secure, even if you’re confident that the network is authentic and secure to use (VPN).

For your information to remain private and safe, VPNs offer two essential functions. They begin by encrypting your data, which is helpful on public Wi-Fi networks as they are typically not encrypted. Utilizing a VPN makes it challenging for the network administrator or anyone else who might be attempting to use the network maliciously to view the data you send and receive.

For people who require online privacy, this capability is crucial. Secondly, they may mask your IP address and conceal your location.

A VPN is a practical tool for maintaining online safety for anyone who frequently travels or uses public Wi-Fi. There are numerous vendors, and it is easy to set up their VPNs. You log in and run the VPN like any other application when you wish to utilise it.

The thought of using a free VPN service could fascinate you. Although VPNs are designed to safeguard your privacy, some free services ask for extra permissions or even fail to completely encrypt your data. Despite the fact that it’s advised that someone who uses a VPN frequently pay for it, some of the biggest, most respected VPN suppliers do provide a small number of free versions.

Alternatively, avoid connecting at all and use tethering from your smartphone

Even if you take safeguards, there is still a danger involved with using a public Wi-Fi network, however little. Using your smartphone’s mobile data is an alternative to connecting to public Wi-Fi.

Your smartphone is already carrying out this action if it is connected to the internet. However, you may use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot and tether from it to connect your laptop to the internet.

As 5G cellphones proliferate and provide customers significantly better connections than a congested public Wi-Fi network, this practice is expanding.

If you decide to connect via tethering, make sure the connection is protected with a strong password to prevent unauthorized access.

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