Accessing the internet within your home is fairly easy and secure. Not unless you have shared you WiFi with neighbors, its only your family members that will access your network.
The public network may not be as secure as your home network. You never know who is controlling it and if the people using it are good.
Most public spaces keep their WiFi networks open to users. This could allow them to connect to the WiFi network even from their homes as long as they are near the public facility.
This ideally means that accessing the internet via a public network will expose your data in one way or another. But there are ways you can secure your data and use these public utilities safely. Here are a few tricks of what you should do.
Be Very Selective
Avoid using any open public network that pops up on your smartphone. It would be safer to use well-known WiFi networks of popular restaurants in your city. Those networks are not as free as you might think.
You pay for them when you spend your cash in those restaurants. So, they have a duty to protect their clients. When you are in a new city, stick to the networks within well-established outlets.
Do not log in to any open network that you get access to. Some are simply trying to steal private data. Remember, in such networks, your data is not only at risk from those running the network, but even from the users within that network.
Limit File Sharing and AirDrop
when on an open public WiFi network in a restaurant like Java or Starbucks, you
still need to disable features in your computer that allow you to share files
with other devices. You also disable those that allow you to receive files from
others.Malicious individuals may decide to send you corrupted files in an
attempt to steal private data from your personal computer (PC). Make sure to
turn all these features off.
Use Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Using a VPN is the most secure way of using internet accessed from a public free WiFi. This tool enables users to secure their private data from malicious people while on a public network. The system acts as a tunnel, that connects the browser or the client to the server. Any data that goes through this tunnel is invisible to hackers.
It is virtually not possible to access such data. Hackers cannot, therefore, see any activities that you may be carrying out online. The VPN is also capable of masking or hiding your IP address and hide your actual physical location. Make sure you carry out due diligence before deciding on which VPN to use.
Avoid Providing Too Much Information
Some public free WiFi networks ask for information such as your email, phone number, and address. You may consider providing this information to a network in an establishment you trust.
Such establishment simply wants to monitor their clients and tailor their marketing and sales strategies. Even then, have a secondary email address that you can use and limit providing such information to just a few establishments.
If you are in the a completely foreign environment, you would be safer if you avoid giving out such sensitive information just to access free internet not unless it is absolutely necessary. Just make sure you be careful who you give this information to.
You Can Also Use HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure)
In situations where you cannot use VPNs, you can use HTTPS. Only visit sites that are fully encrypted to keep your data secure. You can check if the website you are visiting has HTTPS or a padlock at the beginning.
This secures the connection that is between the server and the browser. Any information that passes through this system will be completely protected and masked from potential threats. Hackers are always on the lookout for any loopholes to take advantage of so, be very careful.