Imagine you are at your favourite café, waiting for your flat white and avocado toast to arrive. You decide to kill some time by connecting to the public Wi-Fi network; before you know it, your data is at risk. Scary, right?
As convenient as they may seem, public Wi-Fi networks are often a double-edged sword. They offer a valuable service for those needing internet on the go or moving internet from one location to another. However, they are often insecure, making users susceptible to various cyber-attacks. But fear not, by following a few simple dos and don’ts, you can navigate the world of public Wi-Fi securely.
Understanding the Risks of Public Wi-Fi Networks
Lack of Encryption
Most public Wi-Fi networks lack proper encryption, meaning hackers can easily intercept and read the data you send and receive on the network. This includes sensitive passwords, credit card numbers, and personal emails.
In these attacks, cybercriminals position themselves between you and the connection point. This allows them to intercept and potentially alter the information you send over the network.
Hackers can set up their own Wi-Fi networks that mimic the name and appearance of legitimate public Wi-Fi networks. If you connect to one of these malicious hotspots, the hacker can access all data that you transmit.
Now that we understand the risks of public Wi-Fi networks let’s dive into the dos and don’ts.
The Dos of Using Public Wi-Fi Networks
Do Turn Off Automatic Connectivity
To prevent your device from automatically connecting to insecure public Wi-Fi networks, ensure your settings are configured to ask for your approval before establishing a connection.
Do Verify the Network
Before connecting, confirm the network’s name with the establishment offering the Wi-Fi. This can help avoid connecting to a malicious hotspot.
The Don’ts of Using Public Wi-Fi Networks
Don’t Access Sensitive Information
Avoid accessing sensitive banking or credit card information while connected to a public Wi-Fi network. If you need to access this information, using your mobile data network is better.
Don’t Forget to Log Out
Once you have finished using a web service, log out. This prevents any potential account misuse in case your session gets hijacked.
Don’t Ignore Your Browser’s Warnings
Web browsers often warn users when they are about to visit a potentially unsafe website. Always heed these warnings when connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
Public Wi-Fi networks can be a godsend when you are out and about, needing to check your emails or look up directions. But these open networks also come with their share of risks. By following the dos and don’ts listed above, you can significantly reduce the risks and navigate the world of public Wi-Fi with confidence and security. Remember, vigilance can go a long way in protecting your online identity and data.