10 Best Ways to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi is a surprise, especially if you work in a library or airport, or if you just want to save data to your phone or laptop. However, you must take care of your safety when you are away from home. Here’s how to surf safely on any device.

10. Follow the rules of hygiene on the Internet.

Perhaps the first and most important piece of advice we can give you, beyond the software and tools that promise to protect your privacy, is online hygiene. Avoid working with sensitive data – at least on the network – when using unsecured public Wi-Fi. It might be a good time to check the news or read your favorite blogs, but it probably isn’t the best time to banking online if you get my point.

Of course, if you have ways to keep yourself safe, like the ones we mention below, you can relax a little in this regard, but remember that you should take care of security in this cafe chain. It is unlikely that someone is spying on him, but once is enough to lead to identity theft or worse.

9. Use the right networks (and avoid bad ones)

Not all public Wi-Fi networks are created equal. For example, that Free Airport Wi-Fi network lurking in the background is undoubtedly worse than any Wi-Fi network provided by one of the cafes, shops or retailers at the airport. Choose them instead. You will appreciate the added security (although in reality only security through stealth, which is unreliable), as well as the likely performance improvement.

If you’re interested, you can use tools such as WiFox and its mobile applications to make network card into your airport and to choose which one to use and when. Yes, and in case it has to be said, if there are questionable networks like “Free Wi-Fi is here!” or “Absolutely Free Internet!” you should probably avoid them .

8. Use semi-open Wi-Fi networks instead.

You may not always have a choice when it comes to which network you use, but if you have a choice, consider “semi-open” Wi-Fi instead of fully open networks, consider those that serve airport lounges nearby. cafes that have hidden SSIDs or put their passwords on receipts instead of giving them away for free, etc. Sometimes tools like Wi-Fox we mentioned above have them in their database. You can also go to Google Places, Yelp, or even good old FourSquare to find these passwords.

Alternatively, there is nothing wrong with just asking at the airport information desk, library, or coffee shop counter, but if you want to be tricky, we have looked at more than a few tricks to get this premium , exclusive Wi-Fi and obscure yourself from the rest of the masses, using public networks.

7. Turn off file sharing and AirDrop options.

You may not be able to control who is on what network you are using, but you can control your computer. Whether you are using a Windows PC or Mac, your computer probably has some file sharing options that assume you are on a trusted network with other trusted computers. Turn off file sharing on Windows and macOS, turn on your system’s built-in firewalls, and minimize the number of applications and services connected to the Internet. Mac users, take the extra step and install AirDrop for contacts only . You should still do it, but now is a good time.

Then, automate those settings so that your machine is open when you’re at home or on a trusted network, then automatically switches to a more secure setting when it isn’t. Here’s how.

6. Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use.

One of the basic safety rules is that if you don’t need something connected to the network, don’t plug it in. When you’re done browsing the internet, turn off Wi-Fi on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It’s a good security habit to get used to when you’re using unreliable networks (if you ever need to use them at all) and will save your battery as well. It’s easy to do on macOS , and on Windows, you can even set your laptop to turn on Wi-Fi automatically after a short while offline.

You can go a step further and download local copies of your email and documents for work when you don’t have a connection, or use Google Drive offline (or a similar service) to work without internet access, or just grab this movie. or a playlist to listen to when you’re not connected at all.

5. Keep your antivirus and malware protection up to date.

There is no particular order in this list, but we bet some of you might have expected to see this tip sooner. If you ever use the public untrusted networks, make sure that your computer is running any utility for protection against malicious software and additional antivirus utility .

As for the former , Malwarebytes is our favorite, and is regularly tested . For the latter, you have options . We love Avira for Windows and Sophos for macOS (it’s also available for Windows). Whatever you decide to use, keep it up to date and keep working, especially when you’re on the go. It is known that public Wi-Fi networks can show ads while browsing web pages , and we all know how bad can be a malicious advertisement .

4. Install browser extensions that protect privacy.

Anti-malware is great, but it really only protects you from the things you download and execute, preventing malicious ads or malware from entering your system through no fault of yours. The next step is to harden your browser with tools designed to protect your privacy .

You probably already use an ad blocker, but a good custom one like uBlock Origin gives you control over what is blocked and what is not, when you want it, and you can block anything when you need it. Disconnection is another great option that protects you from single network attacks like session hijacking and clickjackingboth of which are still real threats and can give people access to things like your Amazon or Facebook account. even if you are browsing a secure website. …

3. Use HTTPS wherever you can.

HTTPS works everywhere, use it – and HTTPS Everywhere from the Electronic Frontier Foundation – you can make sure you work. Of course, not every site supports it, but if it is available, the add-on will try to redirect you to the secure version of the site, and if it is not there, you will fall back to the plain HTTP version.

It’s not exactly perfect security, but keeping your connection to a specific site secure means that at least the information sent to you (and that you send to the site) is encrypted , which goes a long way in ensuring that someone is spying on. nothing sensitive gets to your messages. And by “snooping” we really mean someone just sucking packets from the web looking for credit card numbers, passwords, or session cookies to access registered accounts – not notoriously powerful adversaries who have little funds (and, frankly, we are not talking about anyone here.)

2. Use a VPN (or use your own)

I think the best defense against an untrusted network when you should be using it is direct encrypted access to the trusted one. This means using a VPN when you’re on the go. Whether you use a third-party VPN service provider, or create your own VPN at home and connect to it when you’re on the go, using one of them ensures that all your data between you and the service provider is encrypted, blocking someone else in the same networks that you are who can spy on you.

Of course, if you open your own home and connect to it, the reliable network we’re talking about is your home network and your home ISP. It will likely be slower, but at least you know the equivalent experience is surfing the internet or working from home. If you use a VPN provider, you need to make sure it is trustworthy and does not leak your IP address or any other information about you . This is doubly true for mobile VPNs , which can be riddled with malware and consume personal information while you use them.

1. Use your own Wi-Fi.

The real best protection against an untrusted network is not used at all. Of course, this isn’t a real way to make public Wi-Fi more secure, but if you can, consider ditching public Wi-Fi entirely and bring your own. Whether you’re using a mobile hotspot like MiFi or Karma , or simply connecting to your smartphone and using your wireless carrier’s data, both approaches save you the hassle of sketchy public Wi-Fi at the airport while you wait for your stop. and instead to cellular data.

Of course, prices can vary and this is not in the budget for everyone, but some have pay-as-you-go options, like our beloved Karma . If you are not ready to buy and carry another device, you can simply use your smartphone – just keep an external battery close at hand and be aware of data restrictions while working.

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