Ever take your laptop to lunch, so that you can continue to work while you eat? Or use hotel WiFi when you are on a business trip or vacation? Maybe you just want to enjoy a nice mint mochaccino while you take care of some things on your computer or conduct some research on your library WiFi. Public WiFi is incredibly convenient. However, it can be far from safe, so be very careful.
You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to set up a free WiFi network to intercept data. Sometimes unsafe WiFi will even include a nearby venue to make you think it is legit. And when someone can impersonate you online, they can access and con your contacts and visit websites you visit to get your personal and financial information!
You can minimize the risk associated with connecting to public WiFi. You may give me a big “Duh” for this one, but it has to be said. Avoid using mobile apps that require personal or financial information while you are on public WiFi. Verify the name of the network with staff before connecting. Never use the same password on different websites. Never update anything on public WiFi. Only use trusted networks to keep everything updated. You should also turn off file sharing. If you work in Windows, just go to Control Panel, Network, Sharing Center and then Change Advanced Sharing Settings. On Mac, it’s in System Preferences.
Once you are done with your web browsing on public WiFi, log off and delete the network from your device so it won’t auto connect any time in the future. To uncheck Connect Automatically in Windows, go to Control Panel, Network, Sharing Center, click the name of the network and then Wireless Properties. On Mac, go to System Preferences, Network and click advanced under WiFi section to uncheck Remember Networks.