Strategies for Safely Using Public WiFi

Hotspots are everywhere and who doesn’t love them? Free public WiFi sounds too good to be true, but wait! It isn’t really! Authorities report that public WiFi is the reason for the majority of cyber crime-related activities. So when you use them it almost feels like those signs we’ve seen posted that are similar to “Use at Your Own Risk.” People love using these public WiFi hotspots because they’re free, unfortunately, there’s no doubt that the signals coming from these devices can be easily intercepted by any novice hacker. Follow the below precautions to make sure that the next time you’re at your local coffee shop which offers you access to high-speed internet, you don’t fall prey to some enterprising cyber criminal out to steal your identity.

Verify the Offered Services:

The majority of public WiFi access contains almost zero security measures and all wireless devices are at risk when connected. It could be a cyber criminal in disguise, steering people to a link just to get their personal information. As a precaution, and before you connect your devices, always verify the legitimacy of the wireless connection. Always speak to an employee of the place you are visiting face to face and confirm that they’re offering free WiFi service. Then you can verify the name of the connection and its IP address to check its legitimacy.


Stick to Certain Websites:

Unless it’s very important or a last resort, we recommend never to use public WiFi hotspots for disclosing personal and/or financial information. If your online activity includes revealing your identity, private information, passwords, and online banking details, then you should avoid public wireless internet. All important tasks should be completed through a verified service that offers you complete security and confidence. Public WiFi should only be used for general surfing that doesn’t involve using personal information at all (period!).


Keep Your Anti-virus Updated:

There are nearly 230,000 new malware viruses released every day. You need to keep your anti-virus and malware protection programs up-to-date at all times. Your computing device, regardless if it’s a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, it needs protection. Anti-virus programs and malware detection is your best defense in this regard. Most software you install will offer internet security that will keep your virus definitions updated, which in turn, will reduce the possibility of your personal information being tracked and stolen by a cyber criminal.


Always Opt For a Secured Network:

When you choose a Wi-Fi network, in order to keep yourself protected, develop the habit of selecting a secure one. These generally have a padlock icon next to the URL and won’t allow automatic entry to the network. Usually, a password or some sort of verification process is required to enter. This also guarantees that you’ve chosen a secure network and not an internet connection that is pretending to be a verified network.


Constantly Use the ‘Ask To Join’ Feature:

Generally, mobile devices have a feature that informs you that you’re joining a network. The ‘ask to join’ feature is present in most smartphone devices and you should always remember to keep this feature turned on, especially if you have the urge to frequently use public WiFi access hotspots. This feature never allows your device to connect to any available connection without asking for your consent. Only after you approve of the connection will the device connect to the network. This is a great feature for protecting you from ‘bad’ networks.


Subscribe to a Verified Hotspot Service:

If you just love the idea of using public wireless internet services then we recommend that you subscribe to an authorized WiFi hotspot service provider. At least this way you can still enjoy the convenience of using these WiFi services without worrying about taking precautionary measures.

A quick note at the end: around 64% of public WiFi users cannot tell the difference between a secure and a non-secured internet access. We hope that this post has brought some much-needed awareness regarding the use of public WiFi services. Forward this article to friends and family to show them the dangers and keep yourself safe from cyber criminals.



Nathin John

Nathan John is a well-known content writer at Mediacom Internet and he has also been working for Directv bundles seven years. He contributes in various online communities and writes for internet and technology related information.