Free WiFi – Whether you’re at your favorite coffee shop or other public space – This may seem like a paradise in our interconnected world. But there are major dangers when using public Wi-Fi networks, dangers that can compromise your data and give hackers access to your information. Most people do not even know they were invaded until it’s late.
Once the hacker has entered your bank accounts or has changed the password of your email and others. When using a public WiFi network there are always security risks, there are a lot of steps you can take to protect yourself against unwanted visitors (hackers).
Discover some of the dangers and how to mitigate them.
1. Mobile apps are not so secure
As most people access important websites on a laptop or desktop, website companies have been working on integrating encryption and other protections into them in the first place. Thus, mobile applications may not have the same amount of protections.
2. Never use a mobile application for sensitive transactions on a public WiFi network
Many mobile applications are not as secure as web pages, if you have to perform sensitive operations (such as checking your bank account) while connected to a public WiFi network, open a browser and use the company’s mobile site, or use the phone (3G) data connection).
3. Using public Wi-Fi to buy anything or manage your finances is risky
Your credit card details on an online purchase or the login details of your bank account are at great risk on any public WiFi network. Regardless of your own security programs, avoid transmitting such sensitive data when using a public WiFi network.
4. Use networks with strong encryption methods
WEP and WPA are two of the most common encryption techniques in WiFi networks. If you’re dealing with really important data, choose to use a WPA2 network, which is one of the strongest encryption techniques on the market.
5. Automatically connecting to public networks is dangerous
Some smartphones have the option to connect automatically when opening Wi-Fi networks, reducing the use of data plan. But this is very dangerous. You can walk around and your phone automatically connect to a network even without you knowing – paving the way for the theft of your information by hackers.
6. Use a VPN
The VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts your data when you are connected to the internet. Encrypting – turns your information into code – making it almost impossible for a malicious hacker to access your data, since it covers up your information.
7. Another advantage of VPN
In addition to keeping you more secure while using public Wi-Fi networks, while using a VPN you can also access any website that is blocked on the network. The VPN was widely used in Brazil to access Whatsapp when it was temporarily blocked in the country.
8. Dishonest WiFi Providers
A major danger of using a public Wi-Fi network is the Wi-Fi provider. Although most providers are reliable, if you do not trust the owner – do not use it. Just as thieves can pull the details of the bank card into an ATM by inserting a special reader, dishonest WiFi providers can steal your information and sell it to hackers.
9. HTTPS sites are more secure
Short for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure”, HTTPS (the small padlock next to the URL of a website in the address bar) means that owners have added an extra layer of protection. Most large websites will include this feature that reduces the danger of accessing it on public Wi-Fi, but does not eliminate it. Try using only HTTPS sites when you are not on a secure network.
10. Two-step authentication method is more secure
You’ve probably been asked by Gmail, Twitter, or another account if you’d like to use two-factor (or two-step) authentication. It is a safer measure. If a hacker gets your password while you are on a public WiFi network, using 2-step authentication will give you an extra layer of protection against accessing your accounts.
11. Never select a home network
Once you connect to a Wi-Fi network, your computer will often ask if you want to be able to share files with other users, making it useful in a home or business network. While this is useful for such networks, using it on a public network is like leaving your door open; with a sign announcing that everyone can come and pick up whatever they want.
12. Force the browser to encrypt
Browser add-ons, such as Force-TLS and HTTPS-Everywhere – are free and can help protect public Wi-Fi. These add-ons force the browser to encrypt popular sites that otherwise can not be encrypted. It will not work at all locations – look for the HTTPS in the address bar to be sure.
13. Use a firewall
Most laptop or notebook operating systems come with a firewall installed. A barrier to external intrusion, a firewall adds an extra layer of security to the device, which keeps it secure while connected. Be sure to keep it turned on and updated!
14. Have antivirus software installed
This needless to say, but these days it is extremely important to have a good antivirus software or security program.Trojans and viruses became famous in the early days of the internet and did not go away. Use an antivirus to enhance the security of your computer. (For security, regularly back up your important files to the cloud or an external hard drive)
15. Update old browsers
Companies always release updates to their browsers (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) to fix bugs and fix security holes that hackers can exploit. Stay more secure on public WiFi networks by keeping your browser up-to-date with the latest version.
16. Upgrade old operating systems, also
As companies (for example, Microsoft, Google, Apple) building operating systems (OS) publish a list of errors. Once they are discovered, it is easy for a hacker to exploit one if their operating system is not up to date. They just need to figure out their operating system through their WiFi connection and pull a standard attack through their tools.
Finally, use only Wi-Fi connections protected with WPA (WPA2 is better), only visit secure sites (https), do not perform sensitive activities such as banking while on a public Wi-Fi network; just connect to a network if you absolutely know how to use it; use a firewall and security program; not connect automatically to public networks; avoid mobile applications when using public WiFi; upgrade your operating systems; use two-factor authentication wherever possible; use a VPN connection always on public WiFi.