Whether you realize it or not, you probably do a brief sigh of relief when you see the “free wifi” sign at a storefront or cafe. The luxury of free wifi is just too great with the amount of information our devices can provide these days! In fact, the luxury has become so widespread that most people often assume wherever they are most like has a free guest wifi. But while your day may be saved by the strong signal, your information may not be just as safe. By keeping these following things in mind, you’ll finally be able to surf the web on public wifi without the sweat.
Turn off File-Sharing
Before you do anything, turn the air drop off! Sometimes you won’t even realize your device’s file sharing is on in the first place, so make sure this is the first thing you check so you can avoid being shared unsolicited images or information from other people on the network you joined. Make sure all sharing has been turned off, and you should be able to avoid unwanted content sharing.
Know What Networks to Trust
We all rely on trusting our Google Starbucks Wifi, but what about that network that keeps popping up as “REAL FREE WIFI?” It looks like it might have a strong connection…
Maybe it seems like a completely legitimate and safe network, but if you don’t recognize the network or agree with its terms and conditions, you most likely should not be connected to that network. Until wifi security increases, street smarts will have to do for now when it comes to trusting public networks.
Of all ways to protect your information, VPNs have proven to be one of the most useful and effective layer of security. VPN, otherwise known as virtual private networks, allow for your data to be scattered about, therefore protecting your searches, inputs, and other pieces of information. Your data becomes encrypted with a VPN, which can assure even higher confidentiality rates in your information and activity. There is an abundance of other third-party VPN service providers, but if your information is particularly sensitive, you can always create your own VPN connected with your home network as well, just to ensure each bit of information is safe.
Surely this seems straight forward, but making intelligent choices when on public wifi might not be the first thing you consider when joining a network and opening your browser. Some questions to ask yourself: Is the information I am trying to access sensitive? Is the information I am inputting private? If you answer no to either of these questions, chances are you probably should wait until you are connected to your own network or one that is at least more secure. It’s easy to make smart choices when connected to public wifi, just be conscious of the decisions you are making.
While this all might seem like a lot to think about, the safety of your data should always be paramount, especially in today’s world. Taking these small steps can help avoid a potential big issue, and you don’t want to take too many risks when it comes to your private information. The next time you walk into your local coffee shop and think to connect to the first network you see, remember the importance of keeping your information protected and private, and you’ll surely keep your data more secure.