Free WiFi- is it Safe?

17936276_sAlthough our data hungry devices eagerly find open WiFi connections it’s a good idea to think twice before hitting connect.

Here are four  tips from our tech desk about using public WiFi on a laptop:

  1. First and foremost, make sure the firewall is enabled and the antivirus software is up-to-date on the device that you are using to connect to the Internet.  Firewalls and antivirus programs are critical for laptops or devices  running full versions of Windows, Apple OS, etc.  However they are also advisable for mobile devices like tablets and smart phones running Android, iOS, etc.
  2. Use a Virtual Private Network. Many companies utilize these for employees who travel or one can subscribe to a consumer VPN service such as Hotspot Shield or TunnelBear. Both of these services are easy-to-use, secure digital tunnels that hide your device’s IP address and make it harder for Internet companies to track your Web browsing patterns.
  3. Routinely remove Wifi networks listed on your device for automatic reconnection to limit the chances for bad guys to trick your device into connecting to a faked access point.
  4. Consider using a mobile hot spot connection while traveling. You can subscribe to such a service on your smartphone or through a separate signal sent through a USB modem. This is the best  way to connect to a trusty network while in public.

Finally, do not perform tasks or access websites with personal information while on public-access WiFi. That is the surest way to lose valuable data and potentially have your identity stolen.

For additional information about WiFi safety consider an  interview  by  Corey Nachreiner from WatchGuard by clicking here.