How to Use Public Wi-Fi Safely?

Public Wi-Fi networks offer a convenient way to watch a video, listen to music, and check social accounts and emails. Nowadays, Free Wi-Fi is offered in almost every public place such as restaurants, coffee shops, public transport, hotels, and airport terminals. But as useful as public Wi-Fi networks are, they are not always secure and come with associated security risks. Therefore it is important to know how to use public Wi-Fi safely and protect your data and privacy.

Verify the legitimacy of the network

Verifying that the network you are connecting to is legitimate is the first thing that you can do to ensure your safety on public Wi-Fi. Before connecting to any public Wi-Fi, double-check the name of the Wi-Fi network and make sure that it matches the name of the place where you are, such as the coffee shop or restaurant.

It has become a common practice for scammers to set up a Wi-Fi network with the same name or a similar name to the legitimate network since most people join the network unknowingly. Such a small mistake can cost you your data and privacy and it is better to verify the legitimacy of the network before connecting. Ask the customer service or help desk for support when in doubt.

Avoid sharing sensitive information

Whenever and wherever you are using public Wi-Fi, avoid conducting any activity that might involve the sharing of sensitive information such as your banking credentials or credit card information. Avoid online shopping, banking, and any other sensitive activity that might require you to enter your passwords or financial credentials. Although legitimate public Wi-Fi may be safe to some extent, it is better to be on the safe side and avoid sharing any sensitive information than regret it later on.

Disable Auto-Connect and Forget the Wi-Fi network

Once you are done using the Wi-Fi network on your device, it is better to disable the auto-connect option on your device or forget the network so that you don’t end up connecting to the same network. Most of the time, your device reconnects automatically to saved networks. To stay safe, it is better to either disable the auto-connect feature or forget previously used networks.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network or VPN, encrypts your connection so that no one can intercept or access the data you are sending across the network. Even if you are certain the network is legitimate and safe to use, using a VPN is a good choice to keep your connection and information secure.

Since most public Wi-Fi networks are unencrypted, using a VPN adds an extra layer of security that prevents the network operator or anyone else from seeing what information you are sending and receiving across the network.

Use Mobile Data

Even after taking all the precautions, using public Wi-Fi comes with a subtle risk. Therefore, an alternative to using public Wi-Fi is to use your mobile data instead. It is the best option that you have to stay secure and access the Internet in public. To access the Internet on your laptop or any other device, you can use mobile tethering to turn your smartphone into a hotspot and access the Internet through it.