Summer vacations are the best—school is out, work slows down a bit, your destination is picked, and bags are packed, and you’re ready to hit the road with your best travel companion—your smartphone! From keeping your kid entertained with video games and apps, to taking pictures and sharing them with your friends and family on various social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter—you connect to free public Wi-Fi any chance you get. It’s important for everyone to remember that the free public Wi-Fi in hotels, stores, coffee shops, and other shopping establishments is open to bad guys and gals as well.
Keep in mind that “free” isn’t always so free and that public Wi-Fi presents its own set risks. The good news is that preventing hackers from stealing your data can be done with a little awareness and a few proactive steps. The key lesson here is that hacking Wi-Fi is easy, and tricking users into connecting to fake Wi-Fi is even easier.
Here are 3 easy steps you can take today to protect yourself and your family while away from home or your office:
- Don’t connect to public Wi-Fi SSIDs if multiple variations are available. This is not normal for a legitimate business. For example, ask a hotel front desk to confirm their Wi-Fi network name and if they have an encrypted Wi-Fi network, get the password from them. You can do the same at any café, restaurant, or retail shop that you visit. They may not always offer an encrypted Wi-Fi network, but like bargaining with those souvenir shops, you’ll never know what you can get unless you ask!
- If you dare sneak in a quick work e-mail check, or need to access something such as your bank account, consider disabling Wi-Fi and using your 4G connection. Once you’ve wrapped up the confidential task, feel free to hop back on Wi-Fi.
- Clear your saved Wi-Fi network names from each of your devices and consider disabling the “auto-connect” feature in your device settings. This will ensure that your phone doesn’t connect you to a Wi-Fi you previously visited without your knowledge. Yes, this can be inconvenient, but trust me, you don’t want your phone auto-connecting to someone broadcasting one of these saved Wi-Fi network names to eavesdrop and steal your email, login credentials, etc.
For additional tips on staying secure while using public Wi-Fi, visit:
- Watch our Facebook Live video
- Download A Field Guide to Secure Wi-Fi
- Hackers Love Wi-Fi, Hackers Hate WatchGuard video
Until next time,