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Public Wifi Security – 10 Vital Steps For Data Protection

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On the scale of all the important stuff that you use, on what number would you place your wi-fi connection? we will discuss public wifi security concerns and preventive measures.

Most of you would definitely place it on the topmost important thing, while some might not. However the importance of a wifi connection be it a public wifi network or a secured one, you’ll use it regardless of what it can do to your data.

The internet and wifi access are considered highly important to us today and are completely essential for our routine life.

In spite of this, the issue of wifi-security cannot be overlooked. The data and information that we share through the public wifi network can cause us huge losses.

The network of hackers is spread over the internet that might use wifi sniffers and other ways to get the data such as passwords, email, addresses, browsing history, and even your credit card details.

The use of routers encrypted with WPA2 can cope with these Wi-Fi dangers.

10 Best Tips Public Wifi Security

Thus, public wifi security is vital for the protection of data. And here is what you need; 11 steps that will improve your wifi security:

1. Turned Off WiFi

When you are connected to your home or office wifi it is fine to share private information but when your device is around an unsecured one then you need to turn it off.

For example, an attacker gets access to a printer and then to the connected wifi devices. This is termed as reverse hack while he can also get easy access to the files present in the cloud.

By following these steps given below you can easily turn your network sharing off:

  1. Go to your Windows Control Panel.
  2. Access the Network and Sharing Centerwindow.
  3. Click Change Advanced Sharing Settings.
  4. Choose the Publicprofile.
  5. Turn off, Network Discovery, File Sharing, and Public Folder Sharing; in case they aren’t already OFF.

These steps turn off your public sharing network. However, these steps might be dissimilar for different windows operating systems.

2. Enable your firewall:

To ensure wifi security, keep the firewall enabled. You can use a security product with an even better firewall if you have one.

As we usually turn off the windows firewall due to annoying pop-ups and notifications and then totally forget about it, it can be enabled again by:

  1. Go to control panel
  2. Drive to system and security
  3. Choose windows firewall
  4. For sensitive operations, use secure websites:

It is highly recommended not to perform an important operation or make a financial transaction through a public wifi network. And if it is very necessary to use then make sure to use a secure website or use specialized secure browsers.

To know whether you are using a secure website, have a glance at the left side of the web address, if it has a “lock” icon then it means that you are on a verified and encrypted location.

You can also check if the web address has “HTTPS”, the ‘s’ here indicates “secure socket layer” which means your communication will be encrypted.

To stay away from online criminals while using a public wifi network, you can also use  HTTPS Everywhere which is accessible in firefox, chrome, and opera. This action can also make your communications encrypted when you are interacting with major websites.

Facebook and Gmail already use this extension.

It might be astonishing to you that the most insecure websites are that of business while porn sites are highly secured.

3. VPN is Vital:

Using a public wifi network can be extremely dangerous as attackers are always in the search for private data.

Make your public wifi surfing much safer by setting up a virtual private network. It encrypts all your data when online and protects your data from identity breaches, online scams, cyber threats, and phishing attacks.

4. Turn off Your wifi Connection:

If you are not using the wifi connection then turn it off.

The more you use the public wifi network, the more chances are there of data threats through sniffing or any malicious software.

Secondly, turning off wifi connection can save your battery life.

5. Keep Your System Up-To-Date:

Keeping your windows operating system up-to-date is important for cyber-security.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Drive to your Windows Control Panelwindow.
  2. Select Windows Updateand click Change settings.
  3. Ensure Install updates automaticallyare selected.

Third-party programs such as Flash and chrome are at the security risk of getting tricked by software into downloading nasty software.

Usually, the third-party parties want you to install updates manually instead of automatically.

6. Install A Good Antivirus:

If you are the one relying on the public-wifi network then having a reliable antivirus can make a huge difference.

For wifi security, it is important that you have an antivirus that has these three things for sure: virus scanners, heuristic analysis capabilities (capability of antivirus to detect the malware) and how often is it updated with the newest malware definitions and other software patches.

7. Browse A Good Anti-Spyware Solution:

What is spyware?

Spyware is a type of malware that intercepts data and do other malicious things.

Some symptoms of spyware are:

  • pop-up windows bounce up in all places
  • weird error messages
  • web browser search engine has been interchange with something suspicious
  • web browser home page is not the one you placed
  • odd toolbars emerge in your browser
  • Everyday system slowdowns.

Why is spyware dangerous?

Lax security on the public wifi networks can help you from catching a bug.

At the end of the day, it is you and your skills in handling the internet. To stay safe we suggest you:

  • not to click on suspicious links or pop-up messages
  • not to answer back to bizarre email and questions of web browser
  • while downloading the software and other applications, be careful

8. Security for Online Transactions

Mentioning it once again because it’s something that needs to be explained with great importance.

You must find such perfect wifi security while using public wifi for a financial transaction that is able to scan the incoming and outgoing internet traffic before this nasty software infects you and make it easier for the cybercriminals to hack.

9. Security For The Browser When You Are Online:

The main gate for the internet traffic is the browser which is the first target of the malicious files. Thus, having a safe browser can protect you from the risk of attacks when online.

Here are just a few of the steps you can pursue to make sure your browser survives:

  • Make sure you have the most recent browser version and security patches.
  • Access and alter your browser’s security settings.
  • Exercise private browsing sessions to lessen the data that a cybercriminal can assemble from you.

10 . Two-factor Authentication is Important:

It is an extra security step that you need to do while logging in especially when you log into Facebook or email accounts.

In this step, you will be messaged by the site to your phone or email, once you confirm that it’s you then your account security doubles.

This step makes it difficult for the hacker to get access to your account.

Dangers On Public Wifi Security

The major threat to public Wi-Fi is a hacker attack which is due to a poor configuration and a weak password. Such a lack of protection causes a security loophole in which most of the users are trapped by cybercriminals who are always looking for a chance.

Most people tend to connect Wi-Fi in a coffee shop, hotels, airports, and other public places because it’s free and a good source of time pass. Thus, it is the easiest and hidden way to a user’s sensitive data.

1- Twin Attack

It is a technique in which a fake Wi-Fi connection is established that depicts the real one. For instance, if a coffee shop provides a guest connection with the name “Coffee _WiFi”, there could be a malicious version with the name “Coffee_WiFi_Free” created by a hacker.

Once a user connects to such Wi-Fi, his/her all the data is visible to the malicious entity behind it.

2- Malware Induction

Malware injection into public Wi-Fi is really easy for cybercriminals. They inject a malicious code and the code transfers into the device which connects to that Wi-Fi.

Removing the malware is really difficult and could give complete access to your device to the hacker. It can damage or shut down the system, steal the bandwidth, or could extract your personal files.

3- WiFi Snooping

WiFi sniffing is possible with just the download of simple software which is legal too. Through this technique, a hacker could monitor all the internet activity of an individual such as the entered account passwords, browsed websites, etc.

4- Man-in-the-middle (MITM)

When a cybercriminal stands in between the user’s device and the internet, it is known as a Man-in-the-middle attack.

Therefore, from email to login credentials, every browsing activity is visible to the attacker.

CONCLUSION:

Hope that you have found some solutions to secure your data while using public wifi. It is surely difficult to stay away from being online but security comes first. So try not to use public wifi, and if you do then must try out the above security measures.

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Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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