Wi-Fi hotspots sound like the perfect solution for public Internet access, especially if you have limited data or a poor mobile service. Many mobile service providers offer hotspots, or you use public WLAN at the airport, in a popular café or even at your dentist. Some network operators also automatically connect to public hotspots, but only if the Wi-Fi connection is secure. If a secure network is not available, you can manually connect to an unsupported hotspot. Regardless of where you use them, it is important to take steps to protect your personal information before clicking the "Connect" button.
What are the dangers of public hotspots?
As practical as public hotspots may be, there are safety concerns. Knowing what they are is the first step in protecting yourself. Most problems can be summarized in two ways:
- Connection to the wrong hotspot . Incorrect hotspots with a similar name can be set up to collect credentials, sensitive data, or access your computer. Always make sure that you click the correct hotspot name before connecting.
- Missing encryption . When your device sends information over the Internet, encryption protects you from prying eyes. Public hotspots usually do not use encryption, which makes your data vulnerable.
How to Protect Yourself Using Public Hotspots
Sending information about a public hotspot is similar to a soulful conversation in the open air. While it's possible that nothing bad happens, other people can eavesdrop on what you say and use that information to their advantage.
You can prevent this by following these three steps: Prepare the device in advance, be careful when setting up your wireless connection, and respect your privacy when you surf online and become active.
Follow these steps to prepare your device device in advance:
- Make sure your smartphone or device has the latest virus settings. Stay protected and make your smartphone less vulnerable to attacks.
- Always log out of sensitive sites (for example, mobile banking apps) before accessing a public network.
- Use two-factor authentication to make sure that you are the only one who can access your accounts. Once you have logged in with your username and password, the site sends or sends a code that you must enter to confirm your identity. This extra step protects you from compromised credentials.
Consider the following precautions when creating a Wi-Fi connection:
- Disable the option to automatically connect to a hotspot.
- Turn off your "Devices and Printers" option for the connection you are creating.
Follow these steps to protect your personal information when connected to a public hotspot:
- Avoid entering passwords or sensitive information such as bank details or your social security number. [1
If you travel frequently and regularly access public hotspots, consider using a virtual private network (19459015) (VPN) VPNs to encrypt your information and protect your privacy. They are not required for occasional searches of the coffee shop, but for those who often need to use public Wi-Fi, it's worth it.
Public hotspots are a wonderful resource, but your safety should always be paramount when using them. A few simple precautions can help protect your information as you access the information you need on the go. Christy Matte is a Boston-based writer and collaborator of Xfinity Mobile . She's a die-hard techie who likes video games, surfs the internet and any gadget she can get her hands on.