Public WiFi is free hotspot that anyone can connect to without the need of password. You can find such in residential areas (where people forget to put up password), cafes, restaurants, airports, sometimes offices and various areas of cultural/tourist importance.
But using public WiFi has its own dangers and pitfalls that you should be aware of. Following are 10 facts you should know about public WiFi:
- Public WiFi are perfect for various hacks, including Man-in-the-middle attack, that will cause you to lose essential information and data to hackers.
- You can end up sharing a lot of data with public if you mark public network as private network. Never select Private Network when prompted after successful connection with a new public network.
- Never update your windows or software through public WiFi internet. You may instead find malicious software installed on your computer. Many hackers and spammers controlling the WiFi hotspot place these files as software updates that trick the user into downloading them. Perform windows and software update on your private network and keep them up-to-date before checking any public network.
- Viruses and spyware can quickly infiltrate the computer in case the firewall is down. Always keep firewall active when connecting with a public network
- Always make sure you are connecting to the right public network. If you are in a cafe, confirm with the staff the correct WiFi because hackers can set up similar sounding public WiFi to hack your system
- Never save details such as passwords in the browser. These are prone to hacking on a public WiFi.
- Activating a VPN before connecting to public WiFi and keeping it active throughout your browsing will protect you to a good degree, because the VPN encrypts most of the traffic from your computer to the VPN server.
- Activating two-factor authentication will prevent hackers from accessing your account. It will also help if you don’t keep one password for everything.
- If anytime during browsing on a public WiFi an error about invalid security certificate pops up, simply close your computer until you reach your private network.
- Do not use P2P programs such as torrents because hackers can act as peers to transfer malicious programs and can also extract data from your computer without you realizing.
These facts should be kept in mind and necessary precautions taken when using public network. It is best to altogether avoid its use, but in case where it is necessary (such as a cafe or restaurant) the best would be keep all protection updated and active and only use for essential tasks. Once done, close the WiFi.