Staying safe on public Wi-Fi

Wifi
James
by

In the world today, many devices are Wi-Fi enabled or require Wi-Fi to be functional. Many people don’t realise how exposed and vulnerable they may be on a public Wi-Fi network.

When connecting to a Wi-Fi network look out for any warnings or information about the connection being open, unprotected or unencrypted. These connections will leave your device and your information exposed and vulnerable to malicious intent. If you’re in doubt of your safety on a network, either simply disconnect or avoid entering any personal information or log in details to negate possibilities of data theft.
If you’re at an establishment that promotes a Wi-Fi network, be sure to ask someone about which network is the correct, secure one before connecting to any. Anyone can create a public network and name it in a way to mimic the legitimate network. These networks are typically set up for malicious intent and will make attempts to steal your information.

What to remember when using public or insecure Wi-Fi:

  • Be aware of unencrypted data.
    Look to see if the network says it’s open or unprotected. Your data won’t be encrypted and could be intercepted.
  • If you are visiting a web site that requires you to login, make sure it has an HTTPS prefix and a valid certificate.
    If in doubt don’t use web sites that require you to log in or enter personal information.
  • Be aware of spoof pages.
    A page that asks you to login or ‘like’ a Facebook page may actually be capturing your details.
  • Don’t install updates while using a public Wi-Fi connection.
    If you get a popup saying that something needs updating it could be a virus.
  • Use your mobile data instead.
    Your mobile network is more secure than most public Wi-Fi so if you have to do your banking use your mobile data.
  • Check the Wi-Fi network ID is legitimate
    Don’t assume that ‘JacksCafe’ Wi-Fi is genuine just because you’re in Jack’s Café. Ask Jack what the Wi-Fi is called.
  • Be aware of file sharing.
    If you have shares setup on your laptop others may be able to access them, and you won’t even know if they have. Turn off network sharing if in doubt.
  • It’s not just laptops that can be compromised.
    Take precautions when using any mobile device.

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