5 Ways to Stay Secure On Public Wifi Networks

Nearly every shop, fast food restaurant, cafe and public building has WiFi available for patrons. In a world that’s becoming more and more wired, it’s no wonder we can access the internet from almost anywhere. It’s a great convenience that does come with some risks, however. Users of public networks need to be mindful of where they are logging on and what content they are looking at lest they invite predators to take advantage of their private information. Here we offer some information regarding the risks of accessing information through a public network and how to avoid them.

1. Avoid websites where you can access sensitive information.

Online predators can use open WiFi connections to access your mobile device or computer. It is, therefore, prudent to avoid checking things like your bank account, accessing sensitive emails, or other secure websites. Save those types of tasks for your private, home internet connection.safe wifi

2. Check your device’s network settings.

You can change your network settings on your computer or device to block incoming connections. Computer savvy predators can use the open connection to gain direct access to your device.

3. Assume every public connection is compromised.

It’s safe to assume every connection has been infiltrated by someone with malicious intentions. So be conscious of what websites you are visiting. Taking general precautions can’t hurt. Stick to need-to-visit sites that do not contain any secure information.

4. Enable your firewall settings.

If you are using a laptop, check your firewall settings. This can help keep unwanted visitors from looking around your computer. The firewall should already be enabled, but if not, check before you log onto a public WiFi connection. On a Windows OS, you can find this under the Control Panel Menu. For Mac OS users, check System Preferences. Firewalls are basic with most OS’s, but you can update them in order to be more specific to your needs.

5. Turn off your WiFi when you’re not using it.

Instead of automatically connecting to public WiFi connections, keep your WiFi turned off. This is especially true if you are using your smartphone. For convenience, these mobile devices are made to connect to any and all public connections so that you always have internet access. There are times, however, that it’s better to use your data connection than a public connection.

WiFi connections are something we take for granted as an amenity that businesses offer their patrons. However, it’s important to see all possible risks. Convenience is one thing, but safety of private information is another. Be informed about which networks are safe and which aren’t.

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