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Do you protect your laptops and mobile devices with anti-virus software? If not, it’s critical to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. Cybercriminals can easily intercept data sent over public Wi-Fi, yet 53% of mobile device owners use public Wi-Fi hotspots on a regular basis. Many locations, including hotels, coffee shops, and airports, offer free access to public Wi-Fi, however, it’s not always worth the risk. If you must use public Wi-Fi, here’s 6 tips to help you mitigate the security risks:
1. Avoid Automatic Connection
Does your smartphone or tablet automatically connect to Wi-Fi hotspots? If so, change your settings to ensure permission is required. When mobile devices automatically connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots, there’s no way to prevent the device from connecting to a malicious network. While most smartphones disable this option by default, it’s important to double-check.
2. Be Suspicious
Cybercriminals often set up phony hotspots to capture personal information from users. Sometimes these hotspots will be named after the location that’s offering free Wi-Fi, so talk to an employee and make sure the hotspot is legitimate. Ask for the connection’s name and IP address to avoid connecting to phony hotspots.
3. Use Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software can help you prevent malware infections while your system is connected to an unsecured network. Make sure the anti-virus software is kept up-to-date and watch for alerts in case the system is compromised.
4. Turn On Your Firewall
Most operating systems include a built-in firewall, however, make sure a firewall is enabled on devices. A firewall monitors incoming and outgoing traffic to detect and prevent threats to your device’s security.
5. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A virtual private network is the most secure way to browse the Internet on a public Wi-Fi hotspot. A VPN routes your traffic through a secure network, which encrypts all of your data, even while you’re connected to public Wi-Fi.
6. Avoid Specific Websites
Cybercriminals tend to target specific websites, such as social networking websites or online banking services, to capture your personal information. Try to do online banking at home to minimize the risk of financial fraud and identity theft.
For more tips to mitigate the risk of using to public Wi-Fi, give us a call at (309) 263-5600 or send us an email at sales@clearpathIT.com. ClearPath IT Solutions can help you maintain privacy and security while using public Wi-Fi.