Here are some tips on how to protect your privacy while on public WiFi. Without a doubt having public WiFi hotspots available is both convenient and useful. Even the barber shop I go to in my offshore location has public WiFi for the customers. Having “free” access to the Internet while on-the-go certainly helps me to keep connected, and that is probably true for you too.
Yet, is public WiFi safe to use?
Just like any tool you have at your house or business, from a stapler to a saw, you must be careful how you use it. (I still remember the traumatic occasion as a youth that I put a staple through my thumb from a common stapler. Ouch! Lesson learned and never repeated.)
While you may be using public WiFi to check your e-mail or cautiously update your social media presence, others may be using the same public WiFi hotspot to locate their next victim for online fraud or hacking.
It is not necessary to stop using public WiFi, but you do need to be careful to use it properly and safely. Here are some tips on how to protect your privacy while on public WiFi hotspots.
Public WiFi tip #1: Choose your hotspot carefully
Examine the name of the public WiFi hotspot. Does the name look suspicious? Can you easily recognize the business from the name of the public WiFi? If not, it would be good to check with the owner of the establishment. Determine if they really are supplying the network. Practice safe computing and don’t put your smart device in a place where it can be abused.
Public WiFi tip #2: Don’t share your device
Before connecting to a public WiFi hotspot that you know and trust (see tip #1 above), be sure to close access to your shared folders. Frequently our laptops have folders shared to the public so that our family and co-workers can easily pick up a document or file. If you leave your shared folders open then anyone also connected to the public WiFi hotspot can access your files. They may even be able to deposit a file on your computer. That file could be malicious and damaging if you ever open it. Always have your virus checker monitor your shared folders too.
Public WiFi tip #3: Think twice about connecting automatically to a WiFi connection
Just because it is “free” and available, should you connect automatically? Well, if you think of a public WiFi hotspot as your front door to the Internet would you leave your front door open to just anyone? Probably not. So keep your front door closed until you are ready to use it. Turn off the setting to automatically connect to a public WiFi connection.
Public WiFi tip #4: Start a VPN session after connecting
We can’t emphasize this enough. A VPN will ensure your privacy while on a public WiFi hotspot by encrypting your information that is coming and going. That means that if you log in to check your e-mail, or your bank account, or anything else, the password and profile information cannot be ‘sniffed’ by another patron that is trolling for an easy victim. Not all VPN services are alike. We recommend using the Cryptohippie RoadWarrior VPN package that has as a feature the use of their mobile VPN connection for your smart devices. More information about the Cryptohippie RoadWarrior VPN package is available from our sister web site, SecureLaptop.org, right here. I use it everyday on my laptop and whenever checking e-mail on my mobile devices. It works, and works reliably.
Learn more practical guidelines
Q Wealth recently made available the 2015 Edition of “The Complete Guide To Computer Security … for Mere Mortals”. Learn more about what is contained in this report, and how to get your copy, by visiting our page here.
Here at the Q Wealth Report we are dedicated to helping you maintain your privacy.