Everyone knows that public WiFi isn’t safe, but sometimes using it is unavoidable. If you must use the WiFi at Starbucks, your hotel or the airport here are some precautions to consider.
The Bad News
Fake Networks Are A Real Thing
Malicious networks are tricky and will often use a familiar name to gain your confidence like Free-McDonalds-wifi. While everything seems normal, your traffic could be visible to hackers. Instead, get your own network. You can install a VPN (virtual personal network) software which will set up an encrypted pathway for your internet traffic. VPNs aren’t perfect so make sure you are using https websites. Make sure to find a VPN that offers a mobile app and anti-malware scanner. If you are interested in your own personal network, here are three VPN companies to look at: ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost.
Don’t Get Personal
Don’t check your personal or work emails. Hackers have a way of gleaning information from your account that you never intended to give them. Never access your bank accounts via public WiFi. Even “secure” website that being with https are at risk. Hackers can intercept communications and strip out the secure part of the https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) in the web address.
Ditch The Sharing
If you use the sharing function on your phone make sure it is turned off. The same thing that lets your co-workers share their collaborations and files makes you an easy target on a shared WiFi.
Use Your Smartphone
Use your smartphone’s hotspot for your laptop. The connection is much more secure. While the websites you are visiting know who you are and what device you are using, it is still safer than public WiFi. On the other hand, a VPN will make you anonymous.
The Good News
While using public wi-fi has some downsides, for travelers it can be a God-send. Public wi-fi can allow quick access to transportation tables and nearby hostel information. It can help you find out when a local attraction is open or where the nearest hospital is. However, if you are in constant need of a safe connection whether it’s for work, pleasure or even travel blogging, here are two options worth looking into.
Fon is the global WiFi network. They’ve built the world’s largest WiFi community of over 21 million hotspots. They keep people connected by grouping residential and prime public WiFi footprints. They also facilitate interconnection between WiFi networks. They now have more than 23,000,000 hotspots around the world! You can download their app, choose how long you need to be connected for, then buy a pass.
The authentication process between your laptop, smartphone, or tablet and the login page is secured via SSL encryption. Your data is transmitted in an encrypted format. Fon Spots use the 802.11b/g/n standard as a wireless protocol for internet access. Firewalls protect users from harmful internet-based hacker attacks.
For the globetrotter check out Skyroam. For $155 you can have a secure mobile hotspot that provides unlimited data in over 130 countries for as little as $9 a day. Forget the subscriptions and pay-as-you-go. No SIMs required! Keep your other devices charged all day with the embedded power bank too. Skyroam uses an encrypted connection to keep your data safe and secure while using wifi.
How do you stay safely connected when you travel? Let us know in the comments below!