While entering a coffee shop, a restaurant, or even the mall, the first thing many people do is connect to the WiFi network. People connect to public WiFi networks constantly to allow for better functionality on their devices or to allow them to continue to access the internet and email from devices that don’t use data such as laptops. While this is undeniably convenient, if you are not taking the right precautions while connecting to public WiFi you are putting your information and data at risk. A smallbusiness.com article provides some suggested precautions to take before and while you are connected to public WiFi.
- Make sure you’re connected to the right network- Pretty much everywhere you go there are going to be a variety of network options to choose from. You need to make sure you are connecting to the one that’s secure. It’s very easy and common for cybercriminals to set up malicious networks that will give them immediate access to your information once you connect. Also make sure you are using that organizations network and not something that looks like it. For example, PANERA might be a real one while Panerawifi is not.
- Refrain from making online purchases- Yes, it can be tempting to jump on that flash sale. However, when you purchase something on a public network, your credit card information, even if encrypted, will be sent through the airwaves where it has a chance to be intercepted.
- Don’t log into anything, but if necessary, make sure its encrypted- Cybercriminals are always lurking around on public WiFi networks, and it is not uncommon to have your password stolen after logging into any type of account.
- Use different passwords- Regarding number three above, if your password is stolen, you don’t want it to be your password for everything. Since this obviously gives a cybercriminal the key to all your accounts and information, you want to have different and complex passwords for each one.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)- Although setting one up can be complicated, it is well worth it since it will essentially turn your public internet session into a private one. VPNs are commonly used by businesses to allow their employees to connect to their office networks and work securely from a remote location.
While it can be easy to get caught up in the convenience of having access to WiFi almost everywhere we go, it is important to remember that these networks are public, and therefore, anything you wouldn’t want other people to see should not be done while using these networks. If you have any questions about VPNs or WiFi security give us a call here at OptfinITy at 703-790-0400 or visit us on our website at www.optfinity.com.