With public Wi-Fi becoming more and more prevalent in common areas like libraries, coffee shops, and even busy downtown corridors, it’s important to be mindful of the risks of joining a public Wi-Fi network. Below, we’ve compiled our top 5 public Wi-Fi safety tips to guide you on your wireless Internet adventures.
Protect Yourself: 5 Essential Public Wi-Fi Safety Tips
- Choose the right network type. One of the most obvious features when joining a new network is the ability to identify the network type, which in turn enables or disable privacy settings. If you select Home or Work, these network types allow file sharing. The safest option when using a public source of Wi-Fi is the Public
- Avoid doing online banking… and most other sites that require login credentials to be entered. Since it’s a public network, there’s a possibility that cyber thieves could steal your private credentials, and therefore risk identity theft or an account hack.
- Verify the Wi-Fi source. If you’re not sure if a store or restaurant’s Wi-Fi network is legitimate, take a moment to ask an employee to confirm whether or not the network belongs to the establishment.
- Forget the network when you’re done. Most laptops, smartphones, and tablets have a network setting that allows you to “forget” the network after you’ve disconnected. This ensures your device won’t automatically reconnect to the network the next time you’re nearby without you doing so intentionally.
- Use a VPN (virtual private network). If you find yourself connecting to public Wi-Fi networks regularly, you may wish to consider using a VPN to encrypt and protect your Internet activity from possible cyber threats.
Related Read: Are You Using a VPN for Business, Yet?
Whether you plan to connect to public Wi-Fi briefly or for an extended period, it is important to understand the risks involved so that you can keep your device, your data, and your privacy protected in the long run. Verifying details such as the source of the network and logging out of your accounts and the network when you’re done are steps that take just a few moments, so not only does it keep you safe but it’s a hassle-free way to be active in maintaining your online security.