It does not matter if you are a professional blogger or just an average Joe enjoying the afternoon at a local coffee shop – in both cases, it is important to be able to identify which Wi-Fi connections are safe to connect your mobile device or laptop to. Public connections are more susceptible to infiltration, which could lead to unwanted access. Take a look at these four tips to help keep you safe from cyberthreats when you are on public Wi-Fi:
1. Enable your firewall.
Sometimes you may leave your firewall disabled when you are on your home network. However, when you access a public network, the firewall is your first line of defense against cyberthreats. Before connecting to shared Wi-Fi, enable your firewall and adjust the security settings to a higher level than you would have them on while logged in to your personal network.
“Save online shopping and banking for when you are on your personal WiFi.”
2. Don’t engage in private transactions.
It can be tempting to knock out a few to-do list items while you are enjoying your macchiato, but be smart about your online transactions while connected to a public network. Save online shopping and banking for when you are on your personal Wi-Fi. This can reduce the risk of someone infiltrating your system and stealing your important personal information.
3. Turn off sharing.
When you connect to a new network, most computers will ask you if you would like to turn sharing on or off. If you leave this setting on, anyone on the same network can have free access to many of your files. They do not even have to have experience in computer hacking. When prompted, turn off sharing to prevent infiltration. If you are not prompted with this option, seek out the setting for yourself to make sure that it is set to the correct option.
4. Stick to HTTPS and SSL.
Instead of using basic HTTP, try to use HTTPS or SSL URLs. These options encrypt the data exchanged between your computer and the public network, making it less likely that a hacker would be able to gain access to your information. Lifehacker reports that websites like Gmail and Facebook automatically use the HTTPS URL, but for others, you will have to enter it manually. The website suggested that if the “S” in the URL ever disappeared, you should close the browser right away as you have lost the secure connection.
To learn more about cybersecurity best practices, visit the National Cybersecurity Institute’s website today!