Public WiFi hotspots have become a major security threat all over the world. Cybercriminals quickly figured out how easy it was to infiltrate connected devices even while they we’re not actively browsing or being used. The thieves can even go as far as setting up their own fake but operation public WiFi networks near coffee shops or public locations where many users will be tricked into opting to connect for free WiFi, who wouldn’t with high network fees gouging at our wallets?
The rate of public WiFi networks growing worldwide is staggering. According to wefi.com, there are already over 200 million public hotspot networks available around the globe. This means there is no shortage of data for thieves to take with ease. The amount of banking and credit card details stolen have also exponentially increased and nowadays you can never assume to be completely safe from attackers. Here are some tips to help you navigate through the minefields and understand the basics needed to be followed in order to remain as safe as possible with little effort with your mobile device and home WiFi.
Secure Your Home or Business Wi-Fi Network
Never leave your home or business office Wi-Fi connection unsecured, this means having no password login required for users. Leaving the network open means any passing by attackers that happen to sniff it out can park out and prey on users connected to the network. Additionally, having neighbours use your connection for free, not only means they will eat up your bandwidth and make your internet terribly slow, but if you don’t have an unlimited plan, you also might rack up a large internet usage bill. We highly suggest to stick to current standard WPA2 security and not using an obvious password. Attackers user extensive lists of word and number combinations that can easily guess dictionary words, stick to random passwords for a higher security level.
Use a VPN – Virtual Private Network Service
The use of a solid and trustworthy VPN provider has never been more important than now. For one, it will encrypt all your data no matter where you are, so you can feel more secure in the comfort of your own home and office as well as abroad and especially when using public WiFi hotspots. As we just stressed, it is extremely easy to fall victim to data theft when connected to open public WiFi hotspots and even running the risk of connection to fake hotspots especially setup to steal data from unsuspecting users. The VPN service will effectively protect you from being hacked or having your data sniffed in any way. It is important to pick a solid service to ensure that no security holes can be used to have information leak out to the attackers. If you choose not to use a VPN, we suggest to stay off public WiFi as an added security measure.
Do Not Stay Logged On to Public Networks
A common mistake we all make is to leave our device connected for the duration of the time we are present at an available hotspot connection. This allows plenty of time for attackers to infiltrate your device, whether it be a laptop, smartphone or tablet. Disconnecting from the network as soon as you are done using it, will beneficially protect you while using unsecured WiFi with no protection.
Do Not Use Sensitive Accounts on Public Wi-Fi
This is obvious but most of us might overlook this detail. It is always a good idea to never use any sensitive accounts or enter credit card details using public WiFi networks. Do not login to your banking app or website and it will minimize the risk of that information being stolen.
Overall, we suggest everyone to use common logic and to never underestimate the risk. By using a VPN, it highly reduces the concern and stress from having to use various connection spots and gives you the peace of mind that you have a system working to keep you protected.
As always, if you need a quick VPN pick, check out our scoop on some of the best.