It’s a catching trend to login into our mail accounts, social media accounts and even sometimes to official mail ids via public Wi-Fi connections. Such places have high probability of identity theft risks and APTs (Advanced Persistence Threats) attacks, leaving no room for little mistakes. Bypassing such threats without restricting you from using public Wi-Fi channels is possible by following few security measures. Some features are listed below, read them carefully before connecting to a Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee shop or anywhere else.
6. Turn off File Sharing
It is a common practice to share our files with a home printer and notebooks. While using public Wi-Fi networks, you must seriously consider turning off the file sharing feature on your Smartphone/tablet. It protects your private data from being downloaded by third parties. Your private data will not be shared among other people who are on the same network and sharing the channel bandwidth. Whenever possible, just try to simply turn-off the Wi-Fi connection. Also turn off automatic connecting feature in your laptop to avoid unnecessary network connections.
5. Enable Firewall
Enabling your firewall under windows can protect a device from various malicious attacks. Public networks are widely on the target of hacker groups because such networks lack security. Up-to-date firewall programs not only deny unauthorized access to your computer, but also blocks some malicious programs from gaining access over your device. A firewall filters incoming and outgoing packets thus protecting your data. Apply different privacy settings to your home, work and public network profiles. Just enable the public profile while connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots.
4. Use VPNs
Virtual Private Network (VPN) Services encrypts all your data sent over the network. These services can be used if you haven’t a SSL feature listed in your desktop mail client. Some commercial websites also don’t offer SSL encryption, compromising your bank account details. VPNs provide a unified solution to such security problems by setting up a secure virtual tunnel between your laptop and the host website.
3. Stay protected from Physical Threats
When we talk about getting a protection in public Wi-Fi hotspots, most people think in terms of software solutions only. But here in a coffee shop, Airport terminals and Metro stations, there is a great risk of device theft. It is wise to carry a laptop locking cable in your bag. To prevent data being intercepted through shoulder surfing (Where a person looks into your computer screen from behind), beware of using laptop privacy screens. These security precautions will save your gear from being stolen at busy subways.
2. Prioritize HTTPS over HTTP
The addition of ‘S’ word in HTTP ensures encrypted data delivery to clients. When we see HTTPS in our browser URL, it means that the information sent over the network is secure. This coded information is hard to crack by network sniffers, espionages or hackers. Nowadays, all financial institutions have incorporated HTTPS feature in their service. If you access your mail through any desktop client such as Microsoft outlook then it would be much safer to enable SSL settings in your account. Gmail provides both features of HTTPS and SSL encryption in their mail service.
1. Disable Ad-hoc Networking
Ad-hoc networking feature in your computer connects several other devices to your laptop. It generally bypasses the network routers while connecting to other computing devices. Advance networking routers have security features which demands network id and password before establishing a network connection. An ad-hoc connection simply allows other users on a public Wi-Fi to access the confidential information stored in your hard drive.