Are you the one, who becomes crazy about shopping when its holidays? Do you go from one mall to another while comparing prices online? If so, you need to mind your internet usage and keep identity theft at bay. It’s shocking, how much we have become habitual of using public Wi-Fi at every mall, shop and restaurant that we come across.

As we all are gearing up for Christmas, it’s a good time to review our practices for using public Wi-Fi while shopping online or offline. While we are highly protective of physical theft of our credit cards and wallets, we also need to be equally vigilant for digital theft of this info.

10 Best Public Wi-Fi Hotspot Security Tips While Shopping

Here are the 10 best Wi-Fi hotspot security tips that we have gathered just for you.

1. Keep Your Device Up-to-Date

Before you start you trip to malls and superstores, make sure your device is up-to-date with the latest security software, operating system, web browser and apps. The objective of this exercise is to keep you safe from malware and other malicious codes that you may encounter while using a Wi-Fi Hotspot.

2. Avoid Un-trusted Wi-Fi

Avoid connecting to a Wi-Fi that seems illegitimate to you. It’s very common practice of hackers to create fake ‘Free Wi-Fi’ at malls and restaurants to track people. Always use a trusted Wi-Fi. The best practice is to always make sure that you are using Wi-Fi of the same shopping mall or shop that you are sitting in.

Also Read: How to Avoid Security Risks of Shopping Online In 7 Easy Steps!

3. Use Multifactor Authentication

Multifactor authentication requires two-way-verification. Enabling an extra login step makes it harder for hackers to break into your device. Just be sure that you have enabled multi-factor authentication.

4. Always use Encrypted Websites

Avoid using your financial profiles on public Wi-Fi. In case of urgent emergency always use encrypted website to open your online bank account. Encrypted websites use "https://".

5. Always Use Encryption on Public Wi-Fi

Always use encryption to secure your online communication on public Wi-Fi. Use a VPN to secure all your data when you are using a public Wi-Fi; especially when you are using your credit card or buying anything online via a public Wi-Fi. This way your information will be secure from hackers.

6. Beware of Pop-ups

Be extra cautions and never click on any pop-up that appear on screen while using a public Wi-Fi at malls and restaurants. Last year, the FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center issued a warning about a rise in malware being installed on online shoppers’ devices.

7. Turn-Off Automatically Connect Option

Consider turning-off all automatically connect Wi-Fi option on all your devices. This option allows you to connect to any Wi-Fi that covers within the area you are in. This is the biggest backdoor for hackers to target your devices.

8. Use a VPN for Anonymity

Before shopping online, you must have made a to-do list. The first thing you need to write to that list is VPN. If you don’t use VPN for hotspot security, subscribe to it now. A VPN will hide your identity on the internet and keep you and your information safe and secure.

9. Keep an Eye on Your Account

Do check all your accounts daily and if possible try to change the passwords on a weekly basis. Keep an eye on all your account activities, especially online bank account and social profiles. In case of any suspicious activity, deactivate the account or report it to a higher authority.

10. Turn-off Bluetooth

While this isn’t 100% Wi-Fi, it is a wireless security risk. Turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it. An always-on Bluetooth at malls can leave you and your personal information at risk. If you leave the functionality on while using a Wi-Fi hotspot, cybercriminals can pair with your device's open connection and steal personal information. 

Have a Safe Shopping Experience

We hope that you are now equipped with enough knowledge to start shopping for Christmas without losing your financial or personal data in the process. Using public Wi-Fi hotspots is dangerous as they are highly unreliable; but in case of emergency, you can use them after taking the aforementioned precautions. 

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Ian Riley has been covering online security, privacy and freedom for PureVPN for the past year and a half. He is a cyber freedom enthusiast, and loves to raise awareness about online freedom. He is also a crazy fan of movies and TV shows.

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