If you’re addicted to a free Wi-Fi network, you’re not alone. Hundreds of millions of people from around the globe connect to a Public Wi-Fi network for two reasons; it’s free and convenient.
It’s worth mentioning that convenience comes at a price. When we talk about gaining instant and free access to the internet, the convenience is mostly costing you in terms of your online data.
Research has shown that people don’t even think twice before connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. You must have stumbled across people on trains, buses, airports, at work, and even in public toilets using the area’s free internet.
As more and more people connect to Public Wi-Fi networks, the risks of falling victim to a cyberattack are significantly increasing. In the wake of data breaches and hacking incidents, it is paramount that you adapt steps that keep your digital identity secure on the web.
- Always use a VPN
The need to secure your personal information from hackers on public Wi-Fi hotspot has never been this important. A VPN secures your data through encrypting your online activities. The secure traffic passes through the VPN tunnel, rendering it of no use to a hacker.
Connecting on the internet with a VPN will keep your digital identity secure and anonymous. Don’t let hackers and prying eyes take advantage and install a VPN on your devices today. With a VPN, you can rest assured about your online privacy and security on public and private Wi-Fi networks.
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- Verification of the Network
Always be one step ahead when connecting to a free Wi-Fi hotspot since modern-day hackers have developed robust measures to con you. Before logging in into any network, make sure to read the network name very carefully, and ask the individual working for that business whether they are offering this Wi-Fi service or not.
The reason for this added security measure is that hackers create fake networks. Therefore, you must always verify the name of the network to avoid being the victim. Also, by connecting to a fake Wi-Fi hotspot, you could get a virus, malware, or worse ransomware to your device.
The hacker can then gain the ability to upload all of your data and quickly transfer it to any other system. Therefore, always verify the network name before using it openly.
- Carry your Personal Hotspot
Wouldn’t it be great if you carry your Wi-Fi hotspot and keep yourself far away from all hassles and limitations? Access to public Wi-Fi is undoubtedly easy, but carrying your personal hotspot will save you a lot of troubles.
These days, cellular hotspots offer long-lasting battery life and the ability to connect multiple devices at once. Since it is portable, you can take it nearly everywhere. While it may cost you a little more, but it is completely worth it if you often travel, especially with other people in groups.
- Never put Personal Data on Hotspot
This is one of the most essential tips. While using public Wi-Fi, the user should avoid doing tasks that are serious, sensitive, and personal in nature, such as accessing a bank account, paying utility bills, using credit cards to shop online, or sharing your personal details.
If you want to access such your banking details, shop online and other activities, connect to a VPN, and then browse the web as you please. Your personal data should always be kept private and not accessed on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Who knows who’s looking?
- Create a Unique Password
If your password is common, and you’ve been using it on almost every website, then you are in a severe problem. Security experts recommend that the lifespan of any password shouldn’t exceed more than three months.
Also, before setting any password over your hotspot tethering, remember that it should be silly and nonsense with the combination of multiple symbols, letters, and numbers. The password should be updated frequently to protect yourself from any mishap.
Also, the password should be different for multiple accounts so that it gets difficult for a hacker to trace your other accounts in case an account of yours is compromised.
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- Never Connect to Wi-Fi Hotspots Automatically
Always set your devices to ask you before connecting to any available network that can potentially endanger your online privacy. Always connect to a Wi-Fi network that you trust. Don’t assume that a Wi-Fi network is safe as hackers install a bogus Wi-Fi hotspot and steal your data unless you’re secured with a VPN.
Most of the latest smartphones have this option built-in while others do not. Therefore, you need to manually set up this option in all the devices so that your personal information is safe at all times.
- Using an Antivirus
Public Wi-Fi networks are infamous for spreading viruses that possess the capability to infiltrate your phone or any other device. An antivirus coupled with VPN protection protects your device when you’re using a public Wi-Fi network. Make sure that your device has the latest version of the antivirus program.
An antivirus notifies you if there’s a virus spotted on your device. If there is indeed a virus on your system, the antivirus cuts down all suspicious activities, malicious attacks and removes the virus from your device. Hence, you can continue browsing or streaming on the web.
- Turn off File Sharing
When connecting to any public hotspot Wi-Fi, ask yourself: is there a need to have file sharing turned on? Of course not, this is one of the most important and effective tools to help in securing yourself from any trouble.
This tip suggests that as soon as you are connected to a public Wi-Fi network, make sure the first thing you do is turn off the file-sharing option. By having that option switched off, your private documents and other files on the device are safe from snoopers.
File sharing is one of the easiest ways a hacker can gain access to your private details, so why risk having your file sharing option turned on.
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- Always check what you’re Signing Up for
You should know what you’re getting into. Make sure to at least skim through the terms and conditions of the free Public Wi-Fi hotspot before you hit agree and start browsing.
Why let anyone enter your system just because of your own laziness and negligence. Let the hackers have a tough time when they’re trying to tap on your information.
- Always use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication helps in verifying two types of information that you must have before you log in to a public Wi-Fi network. Those two elements are:
- Your password
- A code sent to your registered mobile device
Several websites support two-factor authentication. With the two-factor authentication option turned on, you’d instantly know if someone is trying to hack your account.
- Enabling Firewall
A firewall helps defend any unwanted requests from accessing data on your device. Since a firewall carefully inspects all incoming and outgoing connections, it ensures that your online activities are secure.
Modern-day devices have built-in firewalls, and although a firewall doesn’t guarantee complete security, it’s an option you should have switched on to stay on a safer side. To switch on your devices’ firewall, all you need to do is head over to the device’s settings and search for the firewall.
This setting is straightforward. It’s just that you need to locate your firewall settings in the control panel of your system. Click on windows firewall and set the password for this setting. That way, it can easily be verified whether the windows firewall is turned on or off every time you use a public Wi-Fi.
- Stick with Well-Known Networks
Those who frequently travel would know which network they usually log into, such as Starbucks. It is important to know which network you are logging into, and stick to those networks rather than connecting to a new one every time.
None of the public Wi-Fi networks are secure. Still, they are relatively safer than connecting to a new network. All those Wi-Fi networks available at shopping malls, airports, and other public places are unsuggested as they bombard you with spam content and are highly insecure.
- Limit the Information Provided
Do not give away too much of unwanted information while using any public Wi-Fi. Be very cautious about what is being asked regarding your personal details before you log on to the network.
The Wi-Fi network would usually ask information such as email address, phone number, possibly your passport number, so only give this information if you are very sure about the Wi-Fi network. Or, you can always give bogus information or an alternate email address.
- Avoid Downloading and Installing on Public Wi-Fi
Always, always avoid clicking on popups whether you’re on a public or private Wi-Fi network. Popups are a nuisance that could potentially cripple your system.
Apart from clicking on popups, avoid downloading any files on a public Wi-Fi hotspot as a hacker could potentially be spying on your online activities, and have access to your data as well.
Download only when you are using your personal hotspot or your personal Wi-Fi secured with a VPN. Be smart and avoid getting distracted by advertisements that entice you to click on them. Why risk your online privacy and security for just a few bucks.
- Select the Correct Network
Have you ever noticed while logging on to any public Wi-Fi that there are multiple networks of the same name? These are spam networks made by hackers. When you connect to them, your online activities get routed through the hacker’s system, and they can view it all.
Most of us make this common mistake where we don’t check and verify a network, and always jump onto the network that shows the strongest signals, and that’s precisely what a hacker wants. Therefore, always make sure you check and enter into the most legitimate network.
Always connect to a secure Wi-Fi network. Don’t let hackers take advantage of you and be a step ahead of them.