Staying safe on public Wi-Fi

Nowadays, when we are out, we are often wanting to check in on our social media and check the news. This often means either using the data plan we have with our mobile phone contract, or using public Wi-Fi, often offered free in cafes and restaurants or hotels. These are not the most secure networks, so to keep yourself and your data safe, here are a few guidelines to consider.

Do you really need the Wi-Fi?

This is a really good question to ask yourself, because if all you are doing is a little work on a word document or spreadsheet, why not turn off the Wi-Fi and gain from the longer battery life? This can be handy for your mobile phone too, as even though it might be sat in your pocket, it will have remembered the code, from last time you visited and log on to the network. This connection can then be exploited by hackers with the right software.

Where are you going?

What websites are you visiting? If you are inputting usernames or passwords, then it might not be an idea to visit, whilst you are on public Wi-Fi. Certainly, banking should be left until you are on a secured network. Websites you enter information on, should have HTTPS at the start. The S is a sign that the site has security in place for your information. Hackers know that you use the same passwords for things and so as you log in to one, might just give them the information they require to try in another site, such as your bank. Check out our blog on ‘how to secure your password’ for help on passwords.

VPN

Applying a virtual private network to your connection might help keep your information a little more securely. Nowadays it is quite simple to put on to your browser, on your laptop or mobile phone. Even if a hacker does get in, the data will be strongly encrypted, and most hackers are after an easy target.

Turn off sharing

Turn off your Bluetooth and sharing, when you are out and about, as this is another way in for hackers. When you connect on your laptop, be sure to mark the connection as public and Windows will do this for you.

Stay protected

Even if you take all the precautions in the world, you can still fall prey to a clever hacker. So, keep your anti-virus and malware libraries updated and run scans regularly.