Staying Safe When Using Public WiFi

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Public Wi-Fi networks are becoming more and more available, connecting us from our computers, tablets, phones, and technologies at almost every turn. Working from coffee shops, checking social media from restaurants or malls, or connecting to Wi-Fi from a hotel or another public-facing business are commonplace these days. But with the amount of personal data stored on our online accounts, how can you safeguard your information from any prying eyes? Aside from trying to use different passwords and login names on all the different sites where you save any personal data, there are a few other ways to help you secure your information when you log in to a public Wi-Fi network to access any personal information.

 Use a VPN

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), like Hotspot Shield, takes your outgoing data and channels it through an encrypted tunnel or a set of proxy servers to hide the traffic from you to the internet, making it appear as though the VPN is producing the exchange rather than you. Encrypted data coming from the VPN can’t be read by third parties trying to steal your information, which gives your connection more security than should you proceed without using a VPN.

Enable your Firewall

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Although a VPN will successfully block most unwanted attention while you browse the internet, a backup protective service is the built-in Firewall in the browser you use. Turning the Firewall on can help to prevent third parties from spying on your data, as it acts as a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted network. While turning on your Firewall, you can also select which applications can access your information by clicking either the “advanced” or “allow a program or feature” options.

Use sites with HTTPS or SSL connections

Utilizing an HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) which supports an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection can provide extra security while you use public Wi-Fi. You will notice a green lock icon appear in the URL bar of the browser you are using, which indicates that the interactions between the site and your browser are encrypted and secured over an insecure network, such as public Wi-Fi. This extra layer of protection is one more step you can take to ensure that your online information is being kept secure while you browse on public Wi-Fi.

 Check the Website Privacy Policy

privacy policy

It may not be society’s general practice to read the privacy policy or the fine print of any contract these days, but when connecting to an insecure public Wi-Fi it should be part of your best practice to do so. In checking the small print, you are able to determine whether it’s appropriate to give up the data the network requests from you in exchange for access. The fine print will explain what information the network will collect from you and how it will be used in exchange for granting you access. From here, you can determine whether giving up that information is a fair exchange or not, but either way it allows you the control to choose.




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