How to be less vulnerable when using free Wi-Fi
Joining free public Wi-Fi networks can’t be avoided if you’re a traveller and moving from one Wi-Fi spot to another. However, each time you give away your email address and passwords in airports and coffee shops, you’re actually giving the public access to your personal information.
Here are tips to use free Wi-Fi and still protect your personal information:
1. Make sure the network is legit. Sophisticated criminal hackers can set up a free Wi-Fi with legitimate-sounding names and pose as safe networks. Networks like these allow users to access pages like Facebook normally. However, the criminals behind the network could already collect your passwords and other personal details.
2. Avoid file sharing sites. Engaging in file sharing activities on sites such as: 4shared; Megaupload; Rapidshare, etc while using a free public Wi-Fi can also jeopardise your security and make you gadget more vulnerable to malware.
3. Create two-step verifications. Sites like Facebook and Twitter provide two-step verification processes that use a secondary password and code sent via text message or app to log-in. Criminals who have your username and password can be stopped from accessing your account since they do not have the secondary password and code.
4. Trust paid travel apps more than free apps. Fake travel apps can pose as legitimate sites but they instead will collect your information once you use them. The tip is to be cautious when using free apps since they are more likely to sell your information.
5. Get a separate gadget for your travel needs. A ‘travel laptop or phone’ carrying only the important information you need for your travels can protect your most vital information from security breaches whenever you use free Wi-Fi networks. Having these separate gadgets stolen by muggers while you’re in transit is also better than your office or personal gadgets. A separate set of emails and passwords for travel purposes also helps.
6. Use a virtual private network (VPN). Browsing via a VPN encrypts all the data passed back and forth to your gadget, protecting you from eavesdroppers and criminals. It works by masking your true location and routing your online activity by creating a safe tunnel through which your communication on the net will pass through. You can alternatively download Tor. A free software that helps you to surf the net anonymously the same way as VPN.