You are sitting at an international airport and wondering how to get an internet connection. As soon as you search for wireless networks, you will see a public Wi-Fi network offered as a free service by the Airport administration. But is airport Wi-Fi safe?
Cyber Security professionals have urged internet users to avoid using public Wi-Fi network connections because of the risk of being hacked.
Despite these recommendations, users increasingly use free Wi-Fi provided by local governments and other businesses that offer an on-site Wi-Fi connection.
Most smartphone and laptop users are putting their digital identity, personal data, and money in danger. It is due to the fact that data transferred over public Wi-Fi may easily be compromised.
Also, the threats are increased if their phone or laptop is not secured by appropriate security and anti-malware software.
The question is whether is public Wi-Fi safe? The majority of sensitive data is now sent over encrypted channels.
In this post, we will see how safe is public Wi-Fi, how to stay safe on public Wi-Fi and does VPN make public Wi-Fi safe? Read on to find out!
How Safe Is Public Wi-Fi?
Although Wi-Fi hotspots at public locations are handy, yet they are usually risky. Someone may be able to see your data if you access a Wi-Fi network and transfer it through websites or mobile apps.
When linked to a public hotspot, our gadgets are at their most vulnerable. It is because your device and data are exposed to the hotspot administrator and, in some settings, anyone else within a public network.
In effect, this implies that anyone in the same café or airport lounge may see the websites you browse and the unencrypted information you send.
Public Wi-Fi Isn’t Secure
While you’re at home, you may protect your home wireless network by using a strong password. It restricts which devices can connect to the router.
You can enable encryption as well, which overwrites the data you send over the internet into a code that others can’t read. However, there isn’t much you can do to regulate the network security of your favorite coffee shop’s Wi-Fi.
What difference does it make? Other users on the network can see what you see and send if the network isn’t secure. You log in to an unencrypted site or a site that only employs encryption on the sign-in page. They might be able to take over your identity and sign in as you.
Even for people with minimal technical knowledge, new hacking tools available for free online make this simple. Your personal data, important files, contacts, family pictures, and even your login details might be compromised.
A hacker might also use your accounts to pose you and defraud others on your contact lists or to test your login details on other websites, such as those that hold your banking details. Your identity might be stolen if a hacker obtains your personal or financial information.
When you use public Wi-Fi, you may be exposing your personal information to the firms that provide the service. To access their internet, many public Wi-Fi networks, such as those at airports and hotels, will need you to install a digital certificate. They may use this to check your traffic for viruses. Still, it also enables them to access it, even if it’s going to a secure site that encrypts information.
However, even in public, you can do things to secure your information and protect yourself and others.
How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi?
Here are some valuable tips that can help you to stay safe on public Wi-Fi:
- Important to remember. Be vigilant when using public Wi-Fi since it is susceptible to hacking.
- Any device can be vulnerable. Wireless security threats attack laptops, cellphones, and tablets alike.
- All Wi-Fi connections should be considered with caution. Don’t just accept the Wi-Fi connection at face value. It might be a phishing link set up by a cyber-criminal looking to steal vital individual data from naive users. Everything should be questioned, and you should never connect to an unfamiliar or unauthorized wireless network.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN). Does VPN make public Wi-Fi safe? When you access an open Wi-Fi connection using a VPN, you are basically creating a private VPN tunnel that protects all of your data as it travels over the network. It can assist in preventing data from being intercepted by hackers snooping on the web. Linking to a VPN is fairly simple, and after you’ve downloaded the application for your preferred provider, it will walk you through the procedure step by step, whether you’re on your phone or at your computer. A decent VPN is definitely worth investing in if you move around a lot and connect to a lot of different networks.
- Use specific types of websites sparingly. Avoid entering into websites where hackers might be able to steal your identity, pin codes, or sensitive information. These websites may include online banking services, social networking websites, or websites that hold your credit card information.
- Check to see if it’s an authentic Wi-Fi connection. Some fraudulent links that are put up by scammers will have a connection name that is intentionally similar to the cafe, hotel, or event that offers free Wi-Fi. If you have the opportunity to talk with an employee at the site that is offering the public Wi-Fi connection, inquire about their legitimate Wi-Fi access point’s name and IP address.
- Consider making use of your smartphone. Suppose you want to visit any internet sites that store or demand the entry of sensitive information, such as social networking, online shopping, or online banking. In that case, it may be more convenient to do so over your cellphone network rather than through a public Wi-Fi connection.
- Defend your device against cyber-attacks. Make sure your whole network is secured by a robust anti-malware and firewall solution, and it is frequently updated.
As new security protocols become available, public Wi-Fi will have additional built-in provisions. Many security data breaches rely on old, out-of-date software, so make sure your laptop or mobile has all of the latest bug fixes and software updates installed before going out.
Also, unless it’s essential, don’t download or install anything new over public Wi-Fi.
Ultimately, the most straightforward approach to prevent security issues caused by public Wi-Fi is to avoid using it at all. However, if you do decide to connect, the procedures outlined above should increase your chances of keeping out of trouble.