How to protect personal data when browsing from public Wi-Fi

When you are connected to the Wi-Fi network of a hotel or restaurant or airport, you perhaps assume that the network is secure. This is not always the case. So, when in doubt, avoid making financial transactions, checking e-mails, and browsing confidential sites. But there is a way to do it safely. Here In this post, we discuss, How to protect personal data when browsing public Wi-Fi.

What is a Public Wi-Fi?

Public Wi-Fi can be found in popular public places like airports, coffee shops, malls, restaurants, and hotels — and it allows you to access the Internet for free. If you connect to a Wi-Fi network and send information through websites or mobile apps, someone else might be able to see it.

public wifi
Source: https://miro.medium.com/max/1400/0*uaOmbmQouVcH31zh.jpg

The risks of public Wi-Fi

A public Wi-Fi network does not offer encryption for users using the same password and hotspot. In addition, your signals are transmitted in the immediate vicinity. Even an inexperienced hacker is able to intercept the signal using a fake hotspot or ad hoc tools. The first goal of the attacker on duty is to enter the same network as the potential victim and he can do it because he has the password. It doesn’t matter if the credentials are given to you at the cashier or at the reception, or printed on the spot: once this data is public, your security is compromised. It is for this reason that we must never let our guard down and follow these four tips that we propose.

How to stay safe on public Wi-Fi?

The best way to know your information is safe while using public Wi-Fi is to use a virtual private network (VPN), when surfing on your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet. However, if you must use public Wi-Fi, follow these tips to protect your information.

Use a VPN service

The best way to protect traffic while using public Wi-Fi is to use a virtual private network (VPN). When connected, all Internet traffic is sent from your computer through an encrypted “tunnel” to the provider’s endpoint. The traffic is protected from any local interception of the public Wi-Fi network.

A VPN encrypt your data and hide information about your IP address and allow you to go online anonymously.

How VPN works

These public VPN services usually cost between 5 and 20 dollars per month (roughly the same amount in euros at the current exchange rate.) There is also software available on mobile phones that allows a VPN to start automatically when you connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. The downside of using a VPN is that it could slow down your connection speed by 25/50%.

The security of encryption

If you don’t have a VPN service, make sure that every time you connect to a website over a public Wi-Fi network, your session is encrypted. In the URL field, you should see an “HTTPS” and not “HTTP”. Make sure that the entire session remains protected during the entire navigation. Some sites only use encryption at login and then leave you at the mercy of a normal HTTP connection which will potentially make you vulnerable to hijacking attacks. Other sites, on the other hand, guarantee the security of an entire session under the protection of encryption.

Avoid Transfer files and check emails

Never perform a file transfer when connected to public Wi-Fi unless a VPN connection is in place. Furthermore, for the e-mail client programs, it is necessary to verify that the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol is enabled for connections to Imap, Pop3 and Smtp servers.

Pay attention to the name of the hotspot

A very common attack used by hackers is to create a public Wi-Fi hotspot right next to another public Wi-Fi. It will, in all likelihood, have a name similar to the legitimate one. If you fall into the trap, all your browsing activity will be routed through the cyber criminal’s network which allows him to control the traffic. To avoid this “deception”, always check the exact SSID name of the hotspot of the hotel, shop or any company that should offer you this service. If you ever see two access points with the same name, report it immediately at the wireless service provider.

Conclusion:

If you are connected to public wifi network we recommend, Use a VPN,  to make sure your public Wi-Fi connections are made private. Only visit sites using HTTPS, Disable or avoid file sharing and Log out of accounts when done using them

Don’t Allow your Wi-Fi to auto-connect to networks, avoid connecting to the wifi network that isn’t password protected. Don’t log in to any apps that contain sensitive information, Disable wifi or Bluetooth if you are not using them. And most importantly only visit webpages that have HTTPS secure connection.

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