7 top tips for using public WiFi safely on your device
Looking to safely and securely use public Wi-Fi on your Windows PC. Here are the best tips and tricks to use public WiFi safely on your device.
This guide gives us some important tips and tricks to use public WiFi safely on any device. A public WiFi network is used by many people at once. The best examples would be the WiFi connection you get in airports, coffee shops, public libraries, etc. Since so many people are connected to that network, there is a high chance that some cybercriminals can access it as well.
Then there is a possibility that your device can be hacked somehow when using public WiFi network. I’m not saying it happens every time, but you never know, and why take a chance? In case anyone is new to networking, let me tell you that a public WiFi network does not have a password. Anyone can access and use it, including hackers. The extent of security is next to nothing with public WiFi networks.
The hackers can use the unsecured network to access your devices, send you malicious links to click, fake malware alerts, etc. These are dangerous situations where your device can be compromised.
Top tips for using public WiFi safely on any device
Here are the various important tips and tricks you need to follow to keep your device and data safe while using a public WiFi network.
1. Always use VPN
This is a no-brainer. VPN apps are a secure way to surf the internet on a public WiFi network. This will mask your IP address which the hackers will not be able to trace to carry out malicious activity. Your internet usage is channeled through a private server located in a remote region different from your actual location.
Several popular VPN apps are available on the internet for smartphones and PCs. Depending on the device you are using, grab a VPN you like.
2. Use password-protected WiFi networks
Always use WiFi networks that are password protected. That means you have to enter the password to access it. They are quite safe. It will also be less accessible compared to a public WiFi network because there will be a usage limit. Again, most people may not know the password and prefer to stick to public WiFi instead.
3. Keep Windows Defender enabled at all times
Never disable Windows Defender if you are using a public WiFi network. Otherwise, it will make room for malware and other security vulnerabilities on your device very easily. Microsoft’s native security mechanism for Windows PC is quite effective. Keep it enabled at all times, whether you’re using public WiFi or logged into your home network.
4. Enable 2FA on the device
2FA, or two-factor authentication, is one of the most secure ways to use your device and various applications. It will prevent malicious and unauthorized login to your Google account. Generally, people use their Google Accounts to create profiles on most of the primary social networks and other apps they use.
When a hacker might try to access your account and log into it, you’ll be notified. In 2FA, you must confirm the login through an authentication code that is generated uniquely on apps such as Authy or Google Authenticator.
Even if the hacker has your login information, the uniquely generated access code will be known only to you. It will be available to you on your device. Therefore, you will be aware of the hack and then change your login details. If you’re interested in knowing how to set up 2FA for your Google Account, check out our guide here.
5. Always browse HTTPS websites
It’s an error if you try to access a website that doesn’t have HTTPS in the address. HTTPS indicates that the data uploaded to the website is securely encrypted. How to enable access to HTTPS-only websites in the Chrome browser.
- Start the Chrome browser.
- Type in the URL bar Chrome://settings and press enter.
- Now click on Privacy and security tab on the left panel.
- click on Safety.
- Then enable the feature under the Advanced tab Always use secure connections.
If you open the Chrome browser from the same Gmail account on both your PC and your smartphone, the changes you make on one device will easily sync with the other.
6. Update the device system version to the latest version
A device becomes vulnerable when you do not upgrade the system version in time. With each iteration of the system build released by the OEM, your device gets bug fixes, security vulnerability protection, and new features. There is so much to miss if you don’t install the system update on your devices.
Typically, you will be notified when a new system update package becomes available for installation. The next time you get such a notification, grab the update immediately and install it right away.
7. Never conduct financial transactions on public WiFi networks
If you must use a public WiFi network at all, stick to those with password access. If that is not possible, enable a VPN on your device for better security. Most importantly, never perform any financial transaction on a public network. It could turn out to be a fatal mistake. Your bank details may be compromised.
In worst cases, where you need to make a transaction, use your debit/card instead of using Google Pay or PhonePe. Otherwise, switch to mobile data and make the transaction. That’s fine, but entering bank credentials while on public WiFi is strongly not suggested.
That’s it. Now, with these helpful tips and tricks, you can safely use public WiFi on any device without worrying about security issues. When you are well aware of the sensitivity of public WiFi, you can easily avoid cyber scams and hackers.
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