3 Do’s & Don’ts When Using Public WiFi
In this day and age, you pretty much can’t go anywhere without finding public WiFi. Which is great! Until it isn’t. Unfortunately, with “free WiFi” comes a lot of risks if you are not careful about connecting to the network.
When it comes to using public WiFi, here are three things to do:
- Make sure you’re connecting to a secure public network
When it comes to public WiFi, there are two kinds of networks: unsecured and secured. We probably don’t have to remind you to connect to a secure network, but we are going to say it anyways. It’s that important.
A secure network requires a password to connect. Free networks that do not ask for a password are unsecured, and these kinds of networks leave your data exposed for anyone to get to.
- Only visit secure sites
Similar to making sure you are on a secure network, make sure you only visit secured websites. A secure site address will begin with “https” and web browsers like Chrome will even offer a line of copy that says if the site is secure or not in the address bar.
If you visit a website that starts with “http” without the “s” then you are making it easier for people to get to your data and to see exactly what you are doing.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN)
Lastly, use a VPN. This is a sure way to keep yourself safe while using public WiFi.
When it comes to using public WiFi, here are three things NOT to do:
- Don’t allow your device to auto-connect to a WiFi network
Turn off any auto-connect settings on your devices. Especially with smartphones. You may not even be aware of it, but if your auto-connect setting it turned on, your device can connect to unsecured WiFi networks.
- Don’t access sensitive data
Keep out of websites, apps or files with sensitive information while you are on public WiFi. This is especially important if you are not using a VPN. This will give people access to sensitive information like your credit card number, address, phone number and more.
- Turn off file sharing functions
Turnoff file sharing on your devices, like AirDrop and Bluetooth, when you are not actively using them. While you are on public WiFi make sure they are turned off so that people are not able to send you unwanted files or able to get to your personal files.
There’s no doubt that public WiFi is a life saver, but if you are not careful, you can get into a lot of trouble fast. Connecting to an unsecure network runs the risk of exposing all of your personal information. The only way to keep 100% from public WiFi is to completely avoid it, which isn’t practical. So, to keep safe, make sure to follow the do’s and don’ts above the next time you are working at a café or sitting in an airport terminal before your flight.