Using Unsecured Wi-Fi Hotspots


July 15, 2013

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are trendy and popular, for the obvious convenience that they offer. No wonder most restraints, cafes, hotels, and other public places are jumping on the bandwagon and allowing visitors to freely access their Wi-Fi networks without needing a password. Despite how tempting it is to simply go ahead and connect to these networks, you need to be prudent while doing so, as you could unknowingly put your computer at a risk of getting hacked.

The following tips guide you on how to use unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots smartly, while keeping your computer protected:

  • Remember that Wi-Fi hotspots are always unsecured connections, even if they require a password to access them. This means that hackers can easily access your private information if you are not careful.
  • Some operating systems like Mac OS X and Windows have built-in security features that can protect your computer when you are accessing the internet through such a connection. Make use of your “Firewall” by checking the “block all incoming traffic” option. Another effective security measure is to disable fire sharing.
  • One of the most targeted personal information is passwords. Installing a browser add-on like LastPass could be effective in keeping your passwords safe. Normally, a hacker can easily view your passwords by accessing your Registry or viewing your keyboard activity through something like keyloggers. LastPass stores all your passwords in a cloud which means that neither do you have to type your passwords, nor will they be stored in your computer.
  • Websites that encrypt your activity are usually safe to use, since all the information accessed on these sites remains confidential. You can identify such websites either by looking for a padlock in the address bar, or checking the URL for https:// Even if a website does not have HTTPS, you can download an add-on like HTTPS Everywhere, which will convert the connection on most popular websites into an encrypted one.
  • Before accessing any public Wi-Fi network, you want to confirm from the owner of the venue that you have the correct name of the network. This is because hackers can create their own fake network with a similar name to the original, putting your information at a high risk.
  • Finally, even after taking all the above-mentioned measures, you still need to exercise some common sense while using an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Avoid activities that expose your private details, such as banking and online shopping.

Centex Technologies based in Dallas and Killeen TX provide Computer Network Security solutions. Call us at (855) 375-9654 for more information.

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