Stealing money from your cards and taking over your accounts will be easier if you give the attackers access yourself. Today we'll tell you how to protect yourself from scammers when using open Wi-Fi.
It is often possible to connect to Free Wi-Fi in public places. Everyone uses public networks in cafés, hotels and airports, but this is not always a safe solution. Many fake networks are now being created that pose as access points from public places. They are used by attackers to illegally collect data from connected customers.
It makes no sense as a matter of principle not to use open Wi-Fi. Mobile Internet speeds are not always sufficient, and if you're abroad, you simply have no other choice (except for those who are not afraid of roaming prices). To be safe, simple rules will suffice.
1. Use trusted sources
Try to tap into networks of well-known establishments. It makes no sense for them to ruin their reputation by harming customers. Look out for Free Wi-Fi signs to avoid being tricked by scammers from the building next door who have set up a network with a similar name.
2. Don’t leave personal information behind
Many networks ask for your phone number or email address to access the Internet. It is best to have an additional box and phone number that are not used as primary. Even if such requests are not a security risk, this protects you from annoying emails.
3. Don’t forget to include a VPN
We've written about this technology before, noting that its original purpose is to protect data. In addition to the secure transmission of information, using a VPN will make it very difficult for third-party users to interfere and track your activities.
It is worth noting that it is advisable to prefer paid services that are responsible for the connection quality.
4. HTTPS instead of HTTP
HTTP is the standard hypertext transfer protocol and HTTPS is its secure extension that uses data encryption. Pay attention to which one the sites are using. If you're using the Google Chrome browser it's easy to distinguish between HTTPS and HTTP. It also warns you strongly about sites that use the insecure HTTP protocol. If you are using other browsers it is advisable to check the «Always use HTTPS» box.
5. Try to switch off Wi-Fi when you don’t need it
Phones «remember» familiar networks and will connect to any previously used ones if they're in range. By turning off Wi-Fi, you'll not only keep your phone safer but also save some battery life.
6. A password is a good thing!
Don't put too much trust in networks that are not password-protected. Nowadays, public places are increasingly password-protected (you can get it from staff or notice boards), and free access is more common with malicious networks.
7. Prefer browsers to apps
In this way you will see which encryption the network is using. Applications usually do not signal an insecure connection. Users do not see how applications send data to the server. More than one popular application has been «caught» sending data in the clear.
8. Avoid online-banking
Logging into an open network to see the weather, the news, or the latest photos of friends on Instagram is fine. But logging into accounts for work or online banking is not a good idea at all. Try to do it using the mobile Internet.
As you can see, it's simple. Public networks, despite the hypothetical dangers, are very convenient, and sometimes indispensable ways to access the information you need. You can and should use them, just be vigilant and stay safe.