In a technologically advancing India, free Wi-Fi is soon going to become a fundamental necessity in public spaces. The process has already begun in cafes, libraries and hotel. Thanks to our government’s agenda to turn us into a digital nation, there are free Wi-Fi zones being setup around public areas too which include the airport and many railway stations.

This dream of total connectivity is great but there is a little glitch that everyone must take into consideration. With the internet comes the threat of cybercrime. And exposing yourself to a public connection makes you more prone to it.

Before you start casually surfing via this free WiFi, you need to get your protecting mode on. Here are a few things to do to stay safe when using public WiFi.

1
Verify your network first

Don’t connect to the first free WiFi you detect. If you’re at a café or library, ask an assistant which connection belongs to them. Unknown networks could be operated by hackers trying to gain access to your browsing.

2
Surf secure websites only

When browsing websites, access the ones with the green padlock in the browser address bar that says “secure”. Another way to make sure your website is safe is to check the use of HTTPS in the URL. The S in the HTTPS stands for secure. You can install the extension HTTPS Everywhere that provides you additional protection when browsing insecure sites.

3
Browse through a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts traffic between your device and the VPN server. Using this service reroutes your traffic through a different encrypted server which makes it difficult for hackers to intrude.

4
Don’t connect automatically

Turn off the setting that lets you connect to a WiFi automatically. Through the day, you may pass through many such connections and if your device connects to a compromised network, your security may be in trouble.

5
Avoid using specific website and apps

When using public WiFi, avoid websites that include your personal data, especially bank data or the ones that could detect your identity, passwords and credit card details. Apps are less secure than websites. So, avoid using such apps with your personal information altogether.

6
Don’t update your apps

Keep your apps updated, they ensure better security but don’t update them on public WiFi. On such a network, you might be prone to a fake update that could be malware in disguise.

7
Have malware protection on

Whether you’re using a phone, tablet or laptop, always keep your malware and virus protection updated and switched on. This will protect you from stray viruses you might pick up when using a public WiFi.

Cover Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.com

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