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How to stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi 

70% of laptop and 30% of tablet and smartphone owners report using public Wi-Fi network service on the go. As enticing as it sounds, the risk of your personal information or data being intercepted from a remote source are prevalent with public Wi-Fi services.

When using public hotspots, we often enter sensitive information like our bank details, security information, and addresses which can be stolen by hackers or identity thieves.  You are even at risk if the Wi-Fi hotspot is protected by a powerful anti-malware product.

The Risks of using public Wi-Fi

These days, it’s important to be aware of the dangers when using a public network. When using a less secure network you’re exposed to vulnerabilities. You may be sharing the network with hundreds or more strangers, including hackers, who are out to get your personal information. While it may be tempting to quickly check our emails, bank account or make a transaction online; it would be sensible to ensure that a Wi-Fi network has as close to 100% privacy guard over your details. If you must use one, please be careful about the information you disclose and be willing to take the risk of data theft.

With the risk in mind, below are tips to stay safe when using a public Wi-Fi network

2-Factor Authentication is a method of confirming users’ claimed identities by using a combination of two different factors: 1) something they know, 2) something they have, or 3) something they are. Using two-factor authentication protects your personal information from hackers. This added layer of protection keeps your passwords safe when using public Wi-Fi services. Another tip to stay protected is to avoid using the same password across several sites.

VPN is your Friend: installing a VPN – a Virtual Private Network is a practical method to protect all your data and private information on a public Wi-Fi network. Although it is not 100% guaranteed, a VPN will encrypt all the data on your devices without worry. However, you need you to choose the right VPN from a trusted source to avoid illegal invasion into your device.

Be secure with HTTPS: whereas website contents used to be in plain text – they are becoming less prevalent; making it more difficult for strangers to hack into your account. The use of HTTPS provides extra protection to your website or page by encrypting the data transfer, protecting it from hackers and thieves. Aside from that, make sure the green padlock shows at the right-hand corner of your address bar.

Additional tips:

Avoid Automatic Connection: always switch off the Wi-Fi on your device after every use. Remember to also verify the source of the Wi-Fi service before connecting to it as hackers build fictitious servers to lure unsuspecting people and steal their details.

Read the Privacy Policy:  the pop-up privacy policy should never be ignored. When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, evaluate the information you are giving up for accessing their services. So, please read the pop-up message always and keep your details safe.

While public Wi-Fi may be free, the threats are numerous and simply not worth the risk. Always check the service details before making any connection.

Check out the following article from Norton. Signs you might be connected to a rogue WI-FI

BrightStar is the world’s leader in providing pre-owned Juniper, Arista and Cisco hardware to service providers.  We specialize in MX-series Juniper routers, including MX960, MX480, and MX104 bundles.

 

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