While the number of free public Wi-Fi hotspots continues to increase, not every hotspot can offer the same level of security as a private home network. Your laptop, tablet, or smartphone’s default settings and firewalls may not be sufficient to protect you from prying eyes when on the move. If you want to keep your information and files safe, read these critical guidelines for protecting yourself when you are away from home.
You may share your music collection, printers, and files, or even allow remote logins from other computers connected to your Wi-Fi network for the privacy of your own home. Unless уоu deactivate these settings before connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, anybody in the area may be able to hack into your computer.
Disable network viewing
If you’re using a Windows PC, visit the advanced sharing options in the Homegroup area of the Network and Internet settings in the Control Panel. From here, you’ll be able to toggle file and printer sharing, as well as network discovery, which makes your machine visible to everyone else on the same network. For Mac users, go to System Preferences, then Sharing, then ensure that none of the options are selected.
Acquire a VPN
The most secure method of browsing on a public network is via the use of a virtual private network. A Private VPN Service directs your traffic via a secure network, even while you’re using public Wi-Fi, providing you with all the benefits of your private network while maintaining the freedom of public Wi-Fi.
While free VPN services are available, a premium VPN service ensures the integrity of the connection. If you connect to unfamiliar networks frequently, setting up a VPN is a sensible way to safeguard your personal information.
One VPN service, NordVPN, charges less than $10 per month and offers unlimited bandwidth and various exit points, allowing you to select the country through which your network traffic is routed.
Avoid connecting automatically to Wi-Fi hotspots
Your smartphone or tablet may be configured to automatically connect to any available Wi-Fi hotspot, a configuration that may gravely compromise your privacy. Not only will this allow your device to join public networks without your explicit permission, but you may also be automatically connected to rogue networks set up to steal your information.
While most contemporary cellphones deactivate this feature by default, this is not always the case, and it is a setting you should always double-check. To begin, open your phone’s settings app and go to the Wi-Fi area. If you do not see an option to deactivate the automatic connection, you are already safe. Otherwise, switch off the settings.
Utilize two-factor authentication
It may take a little additional effort, but verifying your password login via text message or a secondary device may save you a lot of grief.