Online security has become quite a hot topic in recent years. While staying perfectly safe while browsing the web from the comfort of your home isn’t such a challenge, the same cannot be said about browsing the web while using public WiFi. In the ideal scenario, you would never have to use a public WiFi connection. But since we don’t live in the perfect world, the truth is that sooner or later, you’ll find yourself connecting to a public network. For that reason, it’s very important to take all the necessary measures of precaution that will help you keep your personal data personal while using public WiFi.
It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to keep your privacy as a mobile user or are trying to preserve your security after connecting your tablet to a public network – there are many things you can do in order to remain safe from a multitude of online attacks. In general, we suggest you pay special attention to the following ones.
1. Be selective when connecting to a public WiFi network
Even if you are in dire need of an online connection, you should never connect your device to just any available network. You might not be aware of it but it’s extremely easy for hackers to create a fake WiFi hotspot which presents a perfect ground for incoming cyberattacks, resulting in stolen data among other things. So how can you differentiate between valid networks and those set up by hackers? It might be easier than you believe.
Let’s say you stumble upon a WiFi network titled StarbucksFreeWiFi. By connecting to such a network, you would be living in the belief that you are connecting to a safe spot. But if you weren’t asked to provide a password, you were most likely connecting to a fake WiFi network set up by a hacker. Thus, you would be falling for a classic man-in-the-middle attack that hackers use to trick people. That is why if you are trying to keep your data personal while using a public WiFi connection, you should be very selective about the networks you connect to. It’s always a good idea to connect to networks that are secured with a password that you can easily get from a barista. This would do wonders for your online security right of the bat.
2. Use a VPN in order to keep your personal data personal while using public WiFi
If you want to stay as secure as possible while surfing on a public network, it’s always the best idea to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). The main thing people know about a VPN is that it helps you keep your location hidden while browsing the web. But a VPN does much more than that – it will encrypt your data traffic and act as a protected tunnel between the browser and the server.
If you have stumbled upon many different VPN providers, you should know that not all VPN services are created equally. It’s true that there are many free VPN services out there, but sometimes it pays off to invest some money into online security. Scratch that – it always pays off, not just sometimes.
3. Stick with HTTPS instead of HTTP
In case you don’t have access to a VPN for some reason, then you need to be extra particular about which sites you visit. To be more precise, you should only visit those sites that use an encrypted HTTPS connection. When you browse over HTTPS, people who are connected to the same network can’t steal data that is travelling between you and the server of the website you are currently visiting. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about an HTTP connection, because this type of connection makes it relatively easy for other people to see what type of activity you are engaged in while online.
So how can you spot an HTTPS connection as opposed to an HTTP one? For starters, Google Chrome will let you know when a website you are visiting uses an encrypted HTTP connection by labeling the connection as ‘not secure’. Moreover, you should also always pay attention to the beginning of a website’s address. If you see HTTPS, then you are good to go. We all know that cybersecurity has become a hot topic which is why plenty of advancements have been made in order to keep all of us safe while browsing the web. It’s those advancements coupled with some attention on our part that will help you keep your personal data secure while using public WiFi.
4. Invest in good antivirus software
We have all heard many different stories and pieces of information about different types of antivirus software out there. But it doesn’t matter how much or how little you know about it – the fact is that you need one if you want to stay protected while browsing the web from a public WiFi. Antivirus software is an integral part of any good cybersecurity plan. It will single handedly detect, quarantine, and delete any threat or suspicious activity. This type of software will always run in the background until it detects a threat, which is when it will inform you of actions that need to be taken.
That being said, you probably won’t have a problem recognizing how antivirus software will help you keep your personal data personal while using public WiFi. The only thing you need to ensure is that you are always using the latest version of your preferred antivirus software. Moreover, you need to remember that, just like with VPN services, different types of antivirus software will not be the same. And considering the role of antivirus software in your overall online security, one can easily conclude that it’s more than a good idea to invest some extra money in it. You’ll get your money’s worth the first time you see a detected threat pop up on your screen while browsing the web or trying to download some content.