Out And About: Browsing Public Wi-Fi Safely

Out And About: Browsing Public Wi-Fi Safely

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Being out and about in public with free wi-fi is a lifesaver, especially when you’re in an airport, or you need to save data on your phone, but we still have to exercise some common sense when we are using these public wi-fi networks. So, are there any things to take advantage of when we are out and about?

Picking The Right Networks

Usually, we tend to go for a network that’s got “free” in the name, but when you break it down, that free network is worse than a secure network provided by, say, a coffee shop. You can use the various Android apps out there to map out networks on your journey, so you can choose which ones to use at certain points.

Setting Up Your Own Network

If you really can’t trust the networks in your local area, a VPN or a VPS is the most secure way to browse on a public wi-fi network. If you use a lot of public wi-fi networks to search for things that you’d prefer to remain private, going down this route will give you peace of mind in the knowledge that your information is secure, regardless of how open that wi-fi network is.

Turn Off File Sharing

Being able to control your device is the best way to ensure that you keep your information to yourself. Turning off file sharing and enabling your firewalls will keep stress to a minimum when you’re out in public.

Installing Privacy Protecting Browser Extensions

Hopefully, you already use AdBlocker, but there are a few that give you options to customize exactly what you want to block and when you want to block it. While anti-malware software is great for your device, it only protects you from the files you download.

Choose Semi-open Wi-fi

While you might not have a choice, if you do, going for those semi-open wi-fi options that allow you access as soon as you input a password instead of the completely open ones are going to give you that extra bit of security. If you find a semi-open wi-fi network, but there’s no password, there are tools like WiFox as well as Yelp or Foursquare that have databases of passwords so you can access the internet with more security.

Have Some Common Sense

It’s probably the most important piece of information, having good internet hygiene. By this, we mean avoiding sensitive data when you’re in an open, unsecured, public wi-fi network. Choosing what to browse when you’re on a public wi-fi network is down to some common sense. Really, the only way for you to navigate this properly is to either turn your wi-fi off and use your own data or take your own wi-fi with you. You could use a mobile hotspot or tether to your smartphone, this keeps you off the questionable wi-fi networks in public places. Yes, your own wi-fi network is quite expensive, but if you are out in public a lot, and you are operating with sensitive data, the best protection, in addition to your own wi-fi network, is a lot of common sense.

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