Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that provides high-speed internet and network connections. Public Wi-Fi networks are very convenient and are accessible nearly everywhere we are. Whether it is the neighborhood coffee shop, the hotel we are staying in, or the library we visit, Wi-Fi is readily available. Though Wi-Fi makes our lives easier, it is not without security risks. When using Wi-Fi services our personal information could be vulnerable to cybercriminals.
Secured and unsecured networks
Public Wi-Fi networks are either considered unsecured or secured. A user can access an unsecured network without a password or login and if the user is within the network’s range. A secured network, as its name implies, requires some form of credentials – a password or agreeing to terms – before it can be accessed. Connecting to a secured network is preferred, but regardless of the network type always use caution when accessing public Wi-Fi.
Be smart when connecting
Here are a few tips to consider when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network.
- Online banking or financial accounts should not be accessed on public Wi-Fi. Even if the connection is secured there is a risk that your sensitive information will be compromised when it travels across a network. You should also refrain from online shopping while on a public Wi-Fi network.
- Disable automatic connectivity when it is not in use. Although this allows a user to seamlessly connect the automatic setting could connect you to an unfamiliar network or one you would otherwise not use. The convenience benefit of automatic connectivity does not outweigh the risks.
- Avoid online shopping on public Wi-Fi. Making a retail purchase online could expose banking or credit card information as well as your account credentials.
- Consider a virtual private network (VPN) solution when using public Wi-Fi. VPN technology allows you to access your private information while maintaining your privacy through data encryption.
- Be aware of your Bluetooth connectivity. Staying connected to Bluetooth outside of your home or other trusted network leaves your device vulnerable to risk and creates a cybersecurity threat.
Using public Wi-Fi, while convenient, is not without its risks. Public Wi-Fi has its benefits assuming users are educated and aware of best practices for using the technology. The experts at AJTC stay ahead of all the latest technology trends and have the specialized knowledge required to protect your company’s data. Contact AJTC today to learn more about IT security and other services. You may also visit AJTC here or call 708.942.8200.