The WiFi within your home is secure, uncongested, and easy to connect to. When you venture out, on the other hand, you need to take some additional steps to protect yourself. WiFi is now more accessible than ever, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically connect to any network within range.
Know Who to Trust
Wherever possible, use well-known networks. No public WiFi network is secure, and it comes down to who is on the network just as much as who is operating it. In terms of relative security though, it helps to stick with networks provided by established companies. Starbucks is a prime example here, as they care about their customers and want you to be secure when browsing the internet in their stores.
A third-party WiFi network that pops up whilst you’re in a shopping mall, however, would be more of a risk. You don’t know who’s running the network, how they’re making money from providing the connection, or who else could be using the network in the local vicinity. The more networks you sign up with, the more likely you are to come across hackers.
Lack of Encryption
Lack of encryption is also a major issue. Encryption is essentially a shield for your data. It ensures that your information is safe as it travels from your device to the network. So, how do you know if your data is being encrypted? Look for the padlock symbol or HTTPS within the address bar. This works when browsing on a mobile device too. When it comes to mobile apps, finding out whether they have encryption can be more difficult, but most of them do.
AES is the gold standard when it comes to WiFi security, but at the same time, you also need to make sure that you are signing up with sites that are protecting your data too. Within the entertainment sector, many brands including the likes of FanDuel and some eCommerce sites such as Amazon, utilize two-factor authentication as a way to verify the person using the site. The FanDuel online casino’s two-factor authentication system involves a unique, 6-digit code being sent to the authenticator app on your phone. It can also be sent to you via SMS, so your identity can be verified.
Even if data is stolen, this means it cannot be used to access any online accounts. Seeking out sites that offer this high level of protection is key to staying safe online, whether you’re using public WiFi or not.
Asking for Too Much Information
Be wary of public WiFI networks that ask you for too much information. This could include your email address and your phone number. If you have no choice but to connect to a network such as this, then at least make sure the site you’re entering your details on has two-factor authentication. Restaurants and stores tend to ask for personal data as they want to be able to tailor their marketing efforts. It’s up to you if the trade-off in security is worth it.
Lastly, if your WiFi provider offers hotspots, then this is usually much safer than giving away your data to unknown companies who are shielding themselves with an unsecured WiFi connection. If you can keep this in mind, along with the above tips, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to keep yourself safe when browsing on the go.