How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Posted by Tobias Eichenseer Wed, 02 Sep 2015 09:47:00 GMT

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The phrase “Free Wi-Fi” hangs on the front of coffee shops, restaurants and public establishments almost as a lure. But, attached to that lure is a sharp hook studded with risk. Be cautious before taking the bait. Here are our tips for navigating the treacherous seas of free Wi-Fi.

Verify the Network Name
As the old adage goes, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” Networks, with names like “Free Wi-Fi,” entice us, but before joining, make sure that you verify their legitimacy. Many coffee shops or restaurants have signage indicating network names and passwords and you should always confirm the network name with a staff member before attempting to join to a “free” network. It’s easy and commonplace for hackers to execute Man in the Middle attacks by deploying phony networks with names like “Free Public Wi-Fi” or a variation of the establishment’s name. Check before you connect.

Forget the Network
When you’re done with the network, forget it. Ensure that you log out of any sites or services you were using, go into your device’s settings and select “Forget Network” to hinder device from automatically connecting to a network when you are within range again. If you must check your bank account online on public Wi-Fi, don’t simply close out the app when you are done. Log out of the app or site, close out of the app and forget the network.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication
As opposed to singe-factor authentication, simply entering a username and a password, two-factor authentication requires an additional layer of security before accessing account. This additional layer typically takes the form of something you know, such as a PIN or pattern; something you have, such as an ATM card, or something you are, such as biometric data—fingerprint or voice identification. Certain services—Gmail, Twitter and Facebook—support two-factor identification and it is wise to use this additional security layer in the event that a hacker digs up your password while on public Wi-Fi. As for passwords, avoid using the same password or login credentials across all of your platforms, apps and services.

Use a VPN solution
A surefire way to safely surf the web is with a virtual private network (VPN). The VPN client hinders intruders from easily intercepting your data and activity by encrypting traffic between your device and the VPN server. VPNs typically require no client-side installation or hardware—simple set up. We offer VPN services to meet and scale with all of your needs. Visit our website and find out how your company can benefit from the many features HOB RD VPN has to offer.

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