25 Risks Of And Ways To Protect Yourself On Public WiFi

Free public WiFi- whether it’s at your favorite coffee shop or public space – can seem like an oasis in our interconnected world. But major dangers exist when using public WiFi networks – dangers which can compromise your data and give hackers access to your information. Most people don’t even know they have been hacked until much later once the hacker has drained their bank accounts or changed their email and other passwords. Though using public WiFi always comes with risks, there are loads of steps you can take to protect yourself against unwanted visitors (hackers). Find out some of the dangers and how to mitigate them in this list of 25 Risks Of And Ways To Protect Yourself On Public WiFi.

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Mobile apps aren't as secure

iphone with appsSource: WikiTechGuru, Image: Pixabay

As most people access websites on a laptop or desktop, website operators have worked on integrating encryption and other protections in them first. Thus, mobile apps may not have the same amount of protections. (See #24 for a tip on how to protect yourself!)


Never use a mobile app for sensitive transactions on a public WiFi network

browser on phoneSource: Cnet, Image: scobleizer via Flickr

Since mobile apps aren’t as secure as webpages, if you have to perform sensitive operations (like checking your bank account) while out in public, either use your phone’s data connection or open a browser and use the company’s mobile website (checking for #16).


Using public WiFi to buy anything or manage your finances is risky

budget on phoneSource: WikiTechGuru, Image: Pixabay

Finances – whether your credit card details when purchasing from Amazon or your bank login details when checking your accounts – are at huge risk on any public WiFi network. Regardless of your own security programs, avoid transmitting such sensitive date when on public WiFi.


Use networks with strong encryption methods

CCMP_-_Encryption_and_EncapsulationSource: OnGuardOnline, Image: Wikipedia

WEP and WPA are two of the most common encryption techniques WiFi networks will use. If you’re dealing with really sensitive data, look for WPA2 which is one of the strongest encryption techniques on the market.


Automatically connecting to open public networks is dangerous

wifi symbol on ground - automatically connectSource: WikiTechGuru, Image: djimison via Flickr

Some smartphones have the option to automatically connect to open WiFi networks, reducing your data plan usage. But it’s pretty dangerous. You could walk by a network and your phone automatically connects without you even knowing – opening your data up to theft.

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