Setting up a public Wi-Fi network is an excellent marketing tactic employed by many coffee shops, hotels, restaurants and airports. Wi-Fi routers are inexpensive, require minimal setup, and can cover wide physical areas.
A free Wi-Fi network is one of those small luxuries bound to attract a lot of customers. What most people fail to look at is the security level of these Wi-Fi hotspots.
Most public Wi-Fi networks possess almost the same level of security, which is nil. Businesses often set up password logins to their network, which they give away to their customers for free.
Although, a password login to join a network might feel reassuring to customers, but if everybody knows the password, then it’s nothing more than an open invitation for hackers. The fact that anyone can join these networks makes them terribly unsafe.
How to Boost Public Wi-Fi Security?
Since the security measures on public Wi-Fi hotspots are poor to begin with, it takes almost-zero hacking skills to secretly monitor and/or hijack communications over a public Wi-Fi network. This makes eavesdropping on emails and web browsing fairly easy.
There are people who use such networks to access their online bank accounts. Imagine how easy it is for a hacker to gain access to all of this information, including social media accounts and bank account information, and then use it for evil purposes.
However, there are ways to eliminate all possible threats while using any public Wi-Fi network. Here are some tips on what to look out for when using a public Wi-Fi hotspot:
Verify the Network Name
First of all, it is recommended that you choose your network wisely. One extremely common form of deception involves a hacker setting up a public Wi-Fi hotspot at your favorite Wi-Fi watering hole. The name of that network would be similar to the business’s network.
Once you connect to that network, you may be able to browse the internet like you normally do. The problem would be that your online activity would be routing through the hacker's network, where it can be monitored and collected. To avoid such a scenario, we recommend that you take the help of the staff members employed by the legitimate business and verify the name of the correct network.
Use a VPN
Creating a virtual private network (VPN) is one of the best ways to keep your browsing sessions under wraps. A VPN service adds a layer of protection between you and the web by routing all of your communications in an encrypted format through a physical server controlled by the VPN Company.
It is only after your encrypted communication passes through the VPN server that it reaches the web. Choosing the right VPN service is essential since that VPN Company would be responsible for your online security. We recommend that you choose PureVPN because of its excellent service and because of the level of security that it provides to its users.
Businesses should also be aware of how to secure their Wi-Fi networks. The router security can be improved via a Wi-Fi VPN. This can be done by setting up a VPN on your router. This ensures that all communications via this network remain encrypted and away from the hands of hackers.
Check for HTTPS
Encrypting the communication between your computer and the website you're visiting go a long way in maintaining your online security and privacy. This can be done by making sure whether the URL of the site starts with "https" or not. The "s" in the "https" indicates that SSL encryption is active.
Your browser will also display a padlock icon on the address bar to indicate an active SSL connection. SSL encryption makes sure that the information you send and receive appears garbled to prying eyes. This means that even if your communication is intercepted, it will still be unreadable.
Apart from the above tips, it is always recommended that you turn off "file sharing" on your computer as it would make sure that there are no data leakages from your computer to the network. Turning on your computer's "firewall" is also essential since it makes sure that no type of malware or a virus enters the computer by itself.
While site owners and retailers must clearly step up their game in protecting our privacy, however, we should also play our part in eliminating low-hanging fruits for hackers. Fortunately, with just a little awareness and these simple steps, you can make sure that your data remains protected while still enjoying the convenience of a public Wi-Fi network.