4 Tips to Stay Safe When Using Public WiFi

From coffee shops to airports, there’s no scarcity in public WiFi networks. These allow people to check on their work emails using their smartphones and netbooks.

However, users put their devices at risk whenever they connect to public networks. Here are several ways to keep your computer safe even if you choose to use public WiFi.


1) Verify the WiFi Network

If you’re at a coffee shop, don’t assume that a WiFi network using their name actually belongs to them. One common tactic that hackers use is to set up a hotspot and make it look like the official WiFi network of a venue.

Once you’ve connected to their public network, they can already check your browsing activity. The best way is to approach an employee and ask about their WiFi. Let them inform you about the exact name.

2) Read Carefully

Hotels and coffee shops don’t always provide free internet connections without a catch. Even if you do pick their actual WiFi network, read up on the privacy policy and any other information.

This way, you’ll know whether your email address or mobile contacts will be gathered. Businesses won’t use them to steal your identity, but they will surely keep it for their marketing projects. Ask yourself if you’re okay with that in exchange for their free internet.

3) Get a VPN

Short for a virtual private network, a VPN is a simple yet highly effective way to keep your data secured. Even if you’re browsing the Internet using public WiFi, the messages and files you sent cannot be viewed by third parties.

A VPN ensures that you still have an encrypted connection so that you can access company apps without worrying about hackers. If you cannot connect to VPN on public WiFi, try switching protocols to have different ports that the network isn’t blocking.

4) Avoid Automatic Connections

Check your smartphone or laptop and change the connection settings. Don’t allow your devices to detect the nearest public hotspot and immediately connect to it. This is okay for your own WiFi network at home, but this exposes your gadgets to unsafe networks.

Overall, you should practice caution when you’re accessing the Internet through public WiFi. If you don’t have a VPN or you cannot verify who owns the network, try to use your mobile data instead.

Otherwise, you should avoid going to online stores and other websites that require you to type in personal details.