Have Any Idea, How Safe Public WIFI Is? Read On to Understand.

The present-day world in which we reside is dependent on high-end technology, i.e., the internet, to offer convenience and comfort through point-to-point networks, broadband networks, dialups, etc. But like any other thing in this world, the internet network has two sides, like a coin, i.e., if it has multiple pros, then it also has its little share of concerns such as privacy and security looming upon you. With everyone looking for a high speed, simple and easy access to the internet, this has propelled many establishments to set up a WIFI network. However, while you tend to use the service on a day-to-day basis, it is crucial for you to question yourself, ‘how secure are these Wi-Fi networks outside than those at home?’

Accessing the internet is not an issue when you are within the confines of your sweet little home. This is because it is secure, easy to connect and use, and is considerably uncongested unless the entire family is using the connection individually, i.e., on separate devices. In contrast, when you venture out somewhere, it is a distinct story. While it is easy to access public WI-FI anywhere in a cafe or bookstore, restaurant or simply on the streets, which allows you to catch-up with your office or any personal work from anywhere, getting a WI-FI connection via the public access is not safe as opting for a personal WI-FI connection at your home. 

A private or personal Wi-Fi is more secure than public Wi-Fi, as with a public connection you do not know who has set the system up or is connecting to the same. In the absence of public Wi-Fi, you can use your mobile data to access the internet. However, at times it may not be practical for you to access your mobile data due to reasons like weak internet, limited internet recharge, etc. Continue reading to understand the appropriate ways you can use to reduce the harm that public WI-FI can push you towards. 

Stick to HTTPS

Google Chrome alerts you if the website uses an unencrypted HTTP connection instead of an encrypted HTTPS connection. The former is labelled as ‘not secure’. If you get this warning, consider it, mainly if you are using a public WIFI connection. When using an HTTPS-labelled site, it is difficult for others to snoop on what you are surfing using the same WIFI connection. However, over an unencrypted HTTP network, it is possible for others to watch what you are surfing, which may put you at risk if you share any personal details or your payment details online. 

Avoid giving away a lot of info, which is not required.

Be wary of accessing public WIFI if you are asked to provide a bunch of personal details such as your email address, phone number, and bank account details. If it is essential for you to connect to the WIFI network, ensure to stick to only those places to access the internet network which you consider trustworthy and ensure to share an alternative mobile number and email address if asked and not your primary details. 

Use the network of trustworthy restaurants and stores

As mentioned above, ensure to log in to only those public WIFI networks provided by reliable and secure stores and restaurants. Doing so would reduce the risk of data breaches. Also, while using a reliable and secured WIFI network, ensure not to share a lot of your details. Keep the data sharing as limited as possible to remain on the safer side. 

Restrict file sharing and airdrop

When you are using any public network to which even strangers are connected, you must turn off or disallow the frictionless file-sharing feature on your mobile or laptop device. On your laptop, this means visiting the option ‘network & sharing centre’, then the ‘change advanced sharing setting’ option, and next, the ‘turn off the file & printer sharing’ option. In case you are using a Mac, visit the option ‘system preferences’, next ‘sharing’ and unselect all the options here. Then go to the ‘Finder’ option, hit on the ‘Airdrop’ option, and choose ‘permit/allow me to be found by no one’. 

Ending note

In a current survey by Kaspersky, it is found that 70 per cent of tablet users and 53 per cent of mobile phone or smartphone users usually consider resorting to the public WI-FI option to connect to the internet network. However, as data sent via public WI-FI can be intercepted easily, many of you tend to risk the security of your personal details, money, and identity. While public WI-FI presents numerous possibilities and features for you as a user – from downloading heavy files for entertainment purposes to family face time, it even has its share of risks. By taking specific measures i.e., sticking to HTTPs sites, avoiding giving unnecessary and personal details, restricting file sharing, etc., you can avoid the risk of encountering an online hijack or attack on your computer or phone device. After all, the possibility of encountering a hack must not stop you from making the most out of public WI-FI – but you must factor in all the steps to lower the threat and keep your personal data safe. 

In case you need to use the internet for any personal data sharing or visit a site where you may require sharing plenty of your details, then usage of a public WI-FI connection is not recommended. Instead, you must install a WI-FI at your home by selecting the best plan as per your city and location and opting for it. For instance, suppose you are residing in Mumbai, then instead of visiting nearby cafes and restaurants to connect to the internet network through free public WI-FI, ensure to choose one of the best WIFI plans in Mumbai and set it up to start using the same at home with zero hassle or worries of encountering any breaches, data stealing theft, etc.