How to stay safe when using public Wi-Fi

December 7, 2016

how-to-stay-safe-when-using-public-wi-fiRemote working is becoming a way of life for many professionals and the ability to work in a variety of locations between meetings or when traveling is a great advantage.

In a coffee shop or in an airport, it’s normal to see people working on their laptops, connected to the public wifi. However, this kind of network is the most vulnerable to cybercrimes and most people are unaware of the risks of using public Wi-Fi.

More than 60% of consumers think they are safe when connected to a public wi-fi, according to a survey conducted by Symantec, a cybersecurity company. Common activities on public Wi-Fi include logging into a personal e-mail account (58%), logging into social media (56%) and accessing bank or financial information (22%).

Here are 10 simple tips from Kreston’s US member CBIZ that can help keep your data secure.

1. Use a VPN: a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the best technical solution to protect your data as it creates an encrypted tunnel to protect your information.

2. Look for encrypted websites: when surfing the web, look for websites that begin with “https://.” These are considered more secure compared to those that begin with “http://.”

3. Secure your computer: choose the “public network” Wi-Fi option on your computer instead of “home network” or “work network” options. The public network option locks down the connection, ensuring your computer isn’t sharing any files or other important data with devices on the local network.

4. Shopping online: never store your credit card, bank account numbers on a website, or even on your device, while connected to public Wi-Fi.

5. Access to social media : logging into Facebook and/ or clicking on links from social media sites from a business device may leave your proprietary data at risk.

6. Anti-virus software: you need to make sure your virus definitions are up to date.

7. Hotspot: a mobile or personal hotspot instead of public Wi-Fi may be the safest option. You can also hide your hotspot network from public view.

8. Your company Wi-Fi may be not the safest place as well: bear in mind that the shared network Wi-Fi in your business works in the same way as public networks in airports, libraries, hotels and coffee chains. It is a public access point so you should not share devices or files across it.

9. Educate employees: companies should keep a policy to educate employees about the use of their business devices, especially those who do business outside of work.

10. Report a cybercrime: If there is any suspicion that some device may be infected, it should be reported to the IT department immediately.

Additional Source: Telegraph