How to Stay Secure on Public WiFi Hotspots?
Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.
The internet has become a necessity these days. We like to stay connected throughout the day. That is why, even when we are outdoors, we often search for public WiFi hotspots that can provide us with fast connectivity.
However, they are a double-edged sword. While the advantage is that you can get a fast Internet connection, the disadvantage is that you cannot be sure about its security. That is why, if you plan on using any of the public WiFi hotspots, it is essential to know how to remain protected.
Today, we will share a few tips on how to stay secure even on public WiFi hotspots. With the help of our guide below, it will be easy to browse the internet with no cybersecurity risks.
How VPN services help stay safe online?
A good VPN can help you stay secure online. Some of the most direct ways it keeps you safe online are:
- Thanks to the point-to-point protocol, data transfer via VPN is completely secure. Since the authenticity of the data is checked on both ends of the connection, you can be sure that tampering or infiltrating the data is impossible.
- VPN services utilize encryption protocol. That is why, even if someone intercepts your traffic, they will not be able to access the data or read it without your personal key. Thanks to encryption, you can be sure that your data will be entirely safe even when using public WiFi hotspots.
- Usually, VPN providers use any of the following protocols (or their combinations): OpenVPN®, L2TP, or PPTP. These three protocols can secure your data in different ways, but their general purpose is establishing a secure VPN tunnel from your device to the website you access.
- Also, no VPN provider worth its name stores any of your records. It means that you can browse the web without anyone snooping on your online activities. And even if some officials request to provide them your data, the VPN provider won’t have any to begin with!
So, if you’re looking to stay safe while being connected to public WiFi hotspots, a VPN is the best option for you to browse without any cybersecurity risks.
How to use lookup services to be safe?
If you’re still concerned about connecting to public WiFi hotspots, there is a secondary check which you can perform. Lookup tools is a solution that allows you to reverse check phone numbers, perform people search, and lookup addresses.
One of the main dangers of a public WiFi hotspot is that you do not know the entity or the person providing it. A better way to know more about the public WiFi hotspot is to look up the address in the vicinity using lookup services like Spokeo, Whitepages, and AnyWho. It can help you determine if a legit organization is providing a particular public WiFi hotspot, or it is a trick to lure you.
Similarly, you can opt for the people search services or reverse email lookup to learn about the owner of the organization before making your decision. It will help you find more information about the provider of the public WiFi hotspot. Before connecting, you can know right away whether it is safe to use that hotspot or not.
Using the two steps above, it becomes easy for you to stay secure even on public WiFi hotspots. In addition to those, here are a few general tips which you should follow for online security.
What other precautions should you take to stay safe online?
Additional precautions which you should take to stay safe online irrespective of the network you’re on include:
Creating complex passwords
The most well-known passwords are easy to crack. Any hacker using a brute force attack can crack one. So, it is better to use a complex password with a mix of uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols. Also, many websites these days also offer 2-factor authentication that you should certainly activate. It will ensure that your accounts are nigh impossible to hack unnoticed.
Activate the firewall
Most computers have a firewall in their operating system. Users sometimes disable it as it can be restrictive and create certain inconveniences. However, when browsing on unknown hotspots, it is advisable to keep your firewall activated.
Update the operating system
Another tip which you should follow is to update your devices’ operating systems to the latest version. After you do so, you can be sure that all the known security vulnerabilities are bashed up. As a result, hacking your system or accessing your history will not be that easy.
Avoid downloading from unfamiliar and suspicious websites
If you want to download a file or document, it is better to do so only from a trusted website. You can use a site like Virustotal to check the authenticity of the file before opening it. It will ensure that you are not downloading any malware like Trojan. Also, services like Google Drive check all their files automatically before download, so using them is a safe pick.
Transact only on secure modes
If you plan on buying anything online or paying for a service, it is better to do so using a secure payment gateway. It will ensure that your payment information such as banking credentials is entirely safe.
Go with licensed software
Many people opt for unlicensed software as it can save them a lot of money. However, you can never be sure it’s safe. It can contain backdoors, spy on you, intercept your data, etc. Hence, it is better to always download apps and software from the official source. This will ensure that there is no malware or backdoors in your programs.
Be a selective web surfer
Instead of visiting any websites or clicking on shady advertisements and offers that you receive in your email spam, you must be a selective, conscious internet surfer. If you only stay on the safe websites and have a browser antivirus plug-in turned on, your chances to catch cyber disease massively decrease.
Also, most antivirus programs come along with web monitoring plug-ins. It will ensure that whenever you visit a dangerous website, a warning pops up. As a result, you can avoid visiting that website in the first place.
Conclusions on how to stay secure on public WiFi hotspots
These are some essential tips that you can follow to stay safe online. These will work regardless of whether you’re on your private network or a public WiFi hotspot. These tips are easy to follow, making online security an easily attainable feat.
So, next time you connect to a public WiFi hotspot, make sure to follow our security guide. With it, you can stay safe no matter where you are browsing. You can use this guide to connect to public WiFi hotspots from any devices. It is time to take your online security and privacy seriously rather than dealing with the consequences of complacency later.
“OpenVPN” is a registered trademark of OpenVPN Inc.