How to Use Public Wi-Fi Hotspots Safely

These days it is very common to find coffee shops and other places to offer free Wi-Fi. This allows you to freely surf the Internet without having to pay anything. While this feature is very nice, it is not exactly secure. There are some security risks involved but it is possible to take measures to stay safe. In this post, I will briefly explain about these security risks and ways to prevent them.

The main drawback of public Wi-Fi hotspots is that it is possible for a hacker to compromise your information. This is because of the nature of public Wi-Fi hotspots. When you use your Internet connection at home, you have complete control over it. This is not the case with public Wi-Fi hotspots. A hacker can create a Wi-Fi hotspot with the same name as a legitimate one and trick you into using it. Since he has complete control over the Wi-Fi hotspot, he/she can steal your usernames and passwords. The best way to protect yourself from this is to always check about the legitimacy of any public hotspot before using it.

Because of the security risks involved, it is definitely not a good area to access sensitive websites on Wi-Fi hotspots. For example, you should never access your bank accounts while you are on unsecured networks. This is because we can never know if it'll be safe or not. While shopping and accessing e-mails, you should always check that HTTPs is enabled. If this is enabled, all the data you enter will be transmitted in encrypted mode so that it is not possible for the hackers to decipher it even if they succeed in intercepting it.

The best way to keep your information safe while accessing public Wi-Fi's is to use a VPN. A VPN or virtual private network is a tunnel through which your data travels securely to another server from where it travels to the Internet. Since the data is encrypted, it is very safe. There are several free VPNs available but if you are concerned about your security, it is best to go for paid service.

You can also use anonymizing software such as TOR. TOR is by far the best anonymizing software which is used by millions across the world. However you should keep in mind that many websites do not allow TOR. However it provides very good security. It completely makes your online activities anonymous. The only downside is that it is a little slow and times out sometimes. Nevertheless, it is an excellent way of protecting your information and keeping your online activities secure.

About the author: Aditya Venkatesh is a technology-enthusiast who is fascinated by computers and the Internet. In the past, he worked as a technical writer for a well-known web development company in Hyderabad, India. He blogs at www.adiwebs.com. 

1 comments:

I find this article very informative. When wireless fidelity was invented, coffee shops became an instant library for students and conference room for meetings. But because there are many people who are always pre occupied in thinking bad things to others. Good thing portable broadband kits are invented, and I never regret buying one for my self. Better safe than sorry.

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