Here are some of our top Public WiFi security tips to help you stay safe on public WiFi networks:
If you use Public WiFi when you are out and about then you need to be aware that it can be hazardous! Public WiFi security settings can often be overlooked by providers so we thought we would share our Top Ten tips to help keep you safe.
1. Check if the network is secure
Download the free “Network Analyzer Lite” app from the Apple or Play store to see for yourself how secure a Wi-Fi network is. Get connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot and run a “LAN” scan using this app. If you can see other devices on the network, then it means they can also see your device. If your device is visible, then it can potentially be hacked. Disconnect from this network immediately and never do your online banking there. You won’t see other devices on a G5Zone network because we operate client isolation and take public WiFi security very seriously.
2. Check that the network is authentic
Never assume any Wi-Fi network is authentic and always ask the owner of the Wi-Fi for the correct Wi-Fi network name and password. Don’t connect to the first one you see as it may well be a spoofed hotspot that a criminal has set up to deliberately resemble the official name for the sole purpose of harvesting your private information like bank details.
3. Be wary of any network which doesn’t ask for a password
Be very wary of any Wi-Fi network that doesn’t ask for a password. At the very minimum there should be a WPA2 password for Wi-Fi access. If you can get straight onto the internet with no password then it means the network is unsecured or open. The provider likely hasn’t thought about public WiFi security! If its unsecured its likely that anyone else on that network can see your device and potentially all the contents on it. Cyber crimimals seek out unsecured WiFi networks to steal your bank details, user names and passwords and more. Never type in your credit card details, don’t buy anything and don’t visit your banks website. All G5Zone Wi-Fi networks operate client isolation which means your device is not visible to others, this helps protect against man-in-the-middle attacks.
4. Run important security updates on your device
Patching and updating your software on a regular basis is essential for the security of your device. This is especially important when it comes to using public Wi-Fi. Patch management is the key to protecting yourself against attack. Doing your software updates regularly on all your devices reduces known software or network vulnerabilities that cyber criminals exploit. Always ensure you have up to date Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware software installed.
5. Browse secure pages only
Using any email app on your phone can leak data. When using public Wi-Fi, try to use web pages that are https encrypted where possible. You can check this by looking for https at the start of the URL or by looking for the security padlock sign. If the website doesn’t have this, log out especially if you are doing your online banking as it means the website doesn’t have valid encryption which makes an attack more likely.
6. Don’t use Public Wi-Fi for sensitive data
Hackers who are monitoring the network traffic are looking for you to type in your username and passwords. As a general rule of thumb, public Wi-Fi should not be used to access email, online banking and any other sensitive data. Your best bet is to do that from home where you hopefully your internet service provider has provided a router that is both password and firewall protected.
7. Use VPN where needed.
If you travel a lot and need to access sensitive information you should always use a virtual private network (VPN). This is a safe way of browsing the web in an encrypted manner. VPN provides encryption and security across public networks as well as masking your IP address so that the opportunities for phishing attempts are dramatically reduced. Talk to your IT provider if you are unsure what this means otherwise wait until you are in a safer environment.
8. Switch off automatic connection
Make sure all your devices are set to manually select a Wi-Fi network. You don’t want your device trying to connect to a network automatically without your knowledge as it could leave you vulnerable to fake hotspots with the right name redirecting you to a bogus website that harvests your usernames and passwords. Smart devices can give away a surprising amount of data from apps connecting to remote servers so don’t give cybercriminals this opportunity and regularly have a clear out of your known networks.
9. Always log out.
Don’t stay signed into your accounts when accessing public Wi-Fi as you may leave yourself exposed online. Always log out from each website after each session.
10. Turn off your Wi-Fi when not using the internet
If you want to guarantee security, turn off your Wi-Fi when you are not using the internet. This will go a long way to protecting you from cybercrime. The longer you stay connected to the internet, the longer cyber criminals have to notice you online and start trying to access your device.