The ability to connect to a wireless network is a serious advantage brought to us by the ever-evolving computer technology, and it’s opened up various new horizons both for business and entertainment. Nowadays there’s free, public Wi-Fi virtually anywhere you go: coffee shops, parks, airports, gas stations etc., and while this is very convenient, it’s good to be aware of all the risks that public Wi-Fi exposes you to. Because of a large number of users connected to the same network at the same time, those users are virtually stuck inside a local area network with each other. This can potentially cause a wide array of issues, and today I’m going to be talking about some of them, as well as what you can do about them.
Security Protocols Differ
When you first connect to a Wi-Fi network, you’ll most likely get access to information about the type of encryption the network uses. This is extremely important if you’re serious about protecting your data and shielding yourself from a potential security breach. The most secure protocol nowadays is WPA or WPA2, while WEP is significantly more susceptible to breaches. And there are even some networks that employ no encryption whatsoever – my advice is to stay away from those completely.
A VPN Can Make You More Secure
One of the best and quickest ways that you can add some additional encryption to your connection and make your online identity more private and anonymous is to run a ExpresVPN on your computer or device. The second you connect to a VPN server, all the traffic that you transmit via your Internet connection is split into packets (a process called “encapsulation”) and encrypted using a secure tunneling protocol, such as OpenVPN.
Additionally, you receive a brand new IP address since you’re essentially no longer browsing the Internet from your location – instead, to the Internet it looks like you’re browsing from where your VPN server is. And since there is a lot of information that a third party can discover just by looking at your IP address, now all of this information (examples are your ISP, your browser’s user agent, your approximate location) is kept completely secret.
Financial Transactions Are Not Recommended
You should never shop online or log into your online bank account from a public Wi-Fi network. Transmitting financial information over an insecure network is the number one way you can lose access to your account or have it breached and taken advantage of by a malicious third party. Whatever business you might have with your financial accounts, it can wait until you’re safely behind your own private, home network. And no matter how much a certain shopping website or banking service can boast about their security, they have nearly no control over what happens to the information before it reaches them, and will not accept responsibility for it.
Update Your Security Software
If you already have some sort of security tool installed on your device, it would be smart to always keep it updated to the latest version. This especially goes for your browser and your operating system, as an outdated version is most likely laden with exploitable security holes and weaknesses that hackers can easily take advantage of. In fact, the number one reason why updates are released in the first place is to take care of security issues and therefore enhance the overall protection of your device.
One of the biggest problems with Wi-Fi is that people tend to leave their Wi-Fi adapter on and allow it to automatically connect to free networks. This is a really big mistake and should be avoided at all costs. In fact, this is a method that many hackers have used in the past to carry out successful cyber attacks. All they have to do is run an open Wi-Fi network and wait for someone’s device to connect to it automatically without them even being aware of it, and if the user isn’t running any additional security on the phone or tablet it doesn’t take much work to completely crack their device’s protection. So stay safe, turn off your Wi-Fi adapter when you’re not using it, and you’ll potentially prevent a successful cyber attack.
Adam Ferraresi is a successful web developer from Dallas, Texas and one of the writers of wefollowtech.com. He is twenty three years old, and when he isn’t working on some interesting new article, he enjoys listening to music and watching old movies.