Written by StorageCraft IT News
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finding free Wi-Fi. Whether it’s at a cafe or in an airport, public-access Wi-Fi can be a life-saver. It can also be a death sentence for your data, though.
If you end up connecting to an unsecured network, you open yourself and your data up to malicious users with the intention of stealing sensitive information. Remember, if you can freely connect to Wi-Fi, a hacker can, too. And now that people spend a lot of time on the go accessing sensitive data that pertains to their work, it leaves sensitive company and client data at risk as well.
Here are a few steps you can take to make cyber protection your priority when you connect to public Wi-Fi:
Determine the Type of Networks Available
There are two main types of public Wi-Fi that you should be watching for. The first is an open network, otherwise known as one that you can access without any password or credentials required. The second is one that’s password protected or that requires you to sign up to log in and use the connection. Generally, an open network is a much riskier one. Hackers are less likely to be using a network that requires entering personal information to access.
Don’t Risk It
Think twice before you access sensitive data using an unsecured network, especially an open one. That means you should avoid logging into your bank account online and entering credit card information into payment fields. If a hacker is using the same connection, all that data can easily become theirs.
Turn Off Sharing
AirDrop and other wireless file sharing applications should be shut down before you attempt to access an unsecured network. While connected, it’s possible for these applications and settings to allow hackers to penetrate your IP and steal your data.
Watch for the “S”
Keep an eye on the websites you visit while connected to public Wi-Fi. When the URL contains HTTPS instead of HTTP, it means that site uses data encryption and that it’s a legitimate site, as opposed to a malicious spoof.
Create a Blockade
Your firewall is an essential part of keeping safe while connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi. It can help to safeguard your system from potential intruders no matter where you are and what type of connection you’re using. Install a firewall on your smartphone or tablet if you often use them to connect in public places, and find a great anti-virus software as well. Extra layers of security never hurt.
If you’re part of an IT team, it’s important that you practice safe surfing. It’s just as important, however, to teach the rest of the company the ins and outs of public-access security. Education is the key to safe surfing.