Public WLAN is now indispensable. Many tourists and business travelers happily to take advantage of or even rely the open WiFi to keep in touch with their loved ones or business partners.
This is a great offer, as anything free, it comes with a downfall. All transmitted data can be recorded without any difficulties and, if not encrypted further, can be read by anyone.
Hackers use unsecured WiFi connections to spread malware. Then, if you exchange files, hackers can install malicious software on your computer, sometimes even without you noticing, until it is too late.
With the increasing popularity of mobile WiFi usage, it is very likely that cybersecurity issues and increased public WLAN access risks will increase long term.
But could you do without it? No way! That is why it is very important to take safety precautions and add a bit of healthy distrust to make it as difficult as possible for cybercriminals.
Here are some tips to improve your Internet security:
1. If possible, always use encrypted WiFi networks and do not allow automatic connections.
If you still need to use the non-encrypted Internet, you must remove it from the list of stored networks. Another security measure is the prohibition of automatic connections. Most operating systems offer the option: they tell the user that there is a known WiFi available, but the user does not connect to it.
2. Disable WiFi on your device when you are not using it.
Even if you have not connected to a network, your device's WiFi hardware is still exchanging data with all networks within range. It is constantly checking if there are available networks. Hackers can easily create a WiFi hotspot that responds to any request with "Yes, I am the network you are looking for" and mobile devices are ready to connect.
3. Use SSL connections.
On the web pages you visit regularly and enter credentials, enable the "Use HTTPS" option. Remember, hackers know the average user's habits when using credentials and know that many users use the same password for any forum, email account, or social network (find out here how to choose a strong password here).
4. Disable file sharing.
If you are connecting to the Internet through a public connection, you probably do not want to share data with others. Depending on your operating system, you can disable file sharing through “System Preferences” or “Control Panel”, or leave it in Windows by selecting the Public option when you first connect to a new, unsecured network.
5. Install antivirus software on ALL devices.
Having antivirus software installed on your laptop is standard for most. But you should not forget that this is also very important to have also on tablets and smartphones. Because even if you take several security measures for public WLAN networks, it still risky. That is why you must install a reliable security package.
6. Use a VPN.
A virtual private network (VPN) connection is essential if you are using an unsecured connection, such as an Internet connection. Connect to a WiFi hotspot. Even if a hacker would be able to intercept the connection, the data is encrypted with high security in a VPN. And since most hackers are looking for an easy prey, they will not bother with decoding your data.
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