Open Wi-Fi networks are less reliable than your home Internet – because you do not know who configured them and what people are sitting there. To protect your data, use the following tips:
1. Use trusted networks
One should always be sure that whichever and wherever they are connecting their devices to an open wi-fi network, it at the least should be safe; connect only to known open networks, for example, from Starbucks, Café Coffee Day. Their owners and so on earn for you, so it’s unlikely you will be harmed or find any malicious app through them.
No open Wi-Fi network can be absolutely secured – it all comes down to who provides it and what people are in it. Therefore, we always prefer familiar networks than the unknown.
2. Use the HTTP protocol
Google Chrome (one of the imminent internet browser), mark any unencrypted HTTP connection as unsafe, that is being used by any website. Pay attention to HTTP notifications, especially if you use open Wi-Fi points. Users on your network can not intercept the data that you exchange with the site server, while you are using an HTTP connection. HTTP permits the users to check what you are doing on the internet.
3. Do not talk too much about yourself
Be careful while using any public Wi-Fi, given that you are asked to enter personal information, like, your e-mail I.D. or phone number when connecting. If you need to be online specifically, always go for a trusted network, like mentioned before in this article- it ensures your safety online.
It is far better to go for services where you have already registered, or you are familiar with rather than to transfer your personal information to more strangers.
4. Be careful while using Airdrop and transferring files
While working on a public Wi-Fi network, it is recommended that you should try not to share files.
While working on a laptop, take these steps:
• Go to the Network and Sharing Centre.
• Select Advanced Sharing Options and select “Disable File and Printer Sharing.”
And you are done.
5. Carefully read the agreement
Always check all the conditions that you agree to when connecting to public Wi-Fi; sometimes there are hidden objectives which are, of course not clear, but still you will likely to be able to notice the treacherous happenings. For e.g. who knows what kind of data will be collected and used against you or it isn’t sure what will be done with that collected information.
Sometimes we find a few things quite complex or confusing in the agreement, and in that scenario, you can take help of Google on what others write about it. The agreement itself does not pose any danger – it helps protect the communication provider, but it’s not worth it to creep through all the pop-ups. And the moment you are asked to download a program or an extension for the browser, you should right away reject it.
6. Use VPN
One of the most effective ways to protect an open Wi-Fi network is to install a VPN. All it does is- encrypts the data that is being transmitted, from your device and binds you to a reliable server. It then further adds on to the difficulty of the users who are sitting there to intercept your information or to find out what you are up to on the network.
It’s quite easy to connect to a VPN. But then of course, given you often drive around the city and get connected to too many different networks, you should not spare money for a good VPN- it’s a resourceful requirement.
7. Additional tips
In the coming future, a new WPA3 security protocol will appear and all the open Wi-Fi networks will become more reliable, as it will help in securing your devices and safeguarding your information/data. However, vulnerabilities in protection still arise from outdated software, so you should always install the latest updates for all the apps for your laptop or phone. And in any case, you shall not download or install any updates on any open Wi-Fi (except in cases of extreme necessity, given the network is secure).
In general, the best way to avoid any problems with open Wi-Fi networks is, of course, not to use them. Perhaps you should download music and movies on the road beforehand or use the wireless access point function on your phone. If you still decide to connect to an open Wi-Fi, use these tips to protect yourself, and share this information with other people.