6 Security Tips For Public Wi-Fi

6 tips to help you protect your private information online

Wireless public networks (also known as Wi-Fi hot spots) are everywhere! I use them to work as a writer when I’m on the go. So instead of being confined to a desk with an internet connection, I just work from my laptop and utilize public wi-fi hotspots at local coffee shops, restaurants, the library, airport, subway station, and when I check into my hotel.

However, just because a wi-fi hotspot is free—doesn’t mean its safe! In fact, oftentimes, hackers will use wi-fi spots to zero in on your personal information and get access to your personal email, credit card numbers, or even your personal banking passwords. Remember, public wi-fit is accessible by anyone, which means you need to be vigilant when it comes to protecting your personal computer information from lurkers and those trying to peak over your shoulder.

Here are six public wi-fi security tips to help you protect your computer and personal online information.

1. Enlist antivirus and antispyware

Ensure your computer is protected by installing up-to-date antivirus as well as antispyware software—both can be downloaded for free. Just look in the Security Essentials pre-installation software on your computers to safeguard against hackers and looky-loos hoping to sneak a peek at your personal information.

2. Turn on your firewall—and keep it on!

Don’t make the blunder off shutting off your firewall protection when using public wi-fi! Rather, ensure your firewall is always on when using your mobile device—tablet, smart phone, laptop, or ultrabook— in public hot spots. This will block all malicious attempts to connect to your computer so no one can access your sensitive information.

3. Use an iron-clad password

1-2-3-4-5 or your last name just won’t cut it when it comes to an unbreakable password that’s strong to crack. So do your part and create a strong user name and password that can’t be cracked easily.

4. Update your network security regularly

In fact, to ensure your computer is protected, schedule automatic software updates on your network security, and when it doubt, scan a public wi-fi network before you join to see if they security level is up to snuff.

5. Shut down wireless network access

If you’re just hanging at the café writing a word document, you don’t need internet access anyhow. So cut down your chances of being hacked by disabling your wireless connection when you’re not using it.

6. Avoid entering personal information

A good rule of thumb is to save the online banking and sensitive information (i.e., credit card purchases) for your secure network at home and at the office. Try to avoid entering any sensitive information on a public wi-fi network.

About The Author

Leslie is a freelance writer from Houston, Texas who specializes in all things mobile and electronic. She can often be found testing the newest apps, social networking tools, and electronic gadgets. Leslie is always open to new writing opportunities and can be reached at leslieekrick@gmail.com.