Who doesn’t love free wi-fi? I don’t think I know of anyone who doesn’t. So if you are like me, when you come across free wi-fi you take the opportunity to get on-line. But before you start checking emails, paying bills and using passwords check these 5 tips on safe free wi-fi usage to ensure you and your computer are not compromised.
There are many places that now offer free wi-fi, from airports to coffee shops to accommodation to co-working spaces. And these places can be very busy, particularly the airport and coffee shops. Unfortunately you can find unscrupulous phishers hanging around these places just waiting for someone to go online so they can steal your identity or empty your bank accounts. So to keep you secure, do these 5 things first.
Look Over Your Shoulder
Before you go on line in public always be aware of your surroundings and if there are a number of people around you remember that someone could be looking over your shoulder. So check over that shoulder to ensure no-one is taking notes on your important information like your passwords for your online bank accounts. And don’t just check over your shoulder once, continue to check regularly. And if you have used any passwords, which I recommend you don’t, I would change them as soon as you can.
Use Recognised Networks
Protect yourself by signing onto a recognised network. I always baulk when I can easily join a free network. I prefer those that require you to set up a free account. This makes me feel a little easier about using the free wi-fi network. And I would only use free ones, never use one that requests payment. They are only after your credit cards details.
Disconnect After Using
That’s right as soon as you have finished using the network, ensure you disconnect and switch off the wireless connection. This will help ensure your system is less vulnerable if someone else tries to connect to you while you have the wireless connection on.
Use Strong Passwords
Having a strong password will definitely help to protect you. Weak passwords are easy to crack, particularly if a phisher has identified you as their next victim. Strong passwords typically have a mix of capital and small letters, letters and symbols. So don’t use a weak password like Travel use a strong password like *Trav8l#m76.
Use a VPN
To be extra safe when using free wi-fi, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). One of these allows you to create a secure network within a network and thus keep your communications secure and encrypted, away from prying eyes. There are a number on the market and one of the best known is Nord VPN, so check them out before you travel or use free wi-fi.
So these are my 5 tips on safe free wi-fi usage. They help me when I travel because as a blogger, I use my phone and computer a lot when I travel. And I need to know that I am safe and secure from potential hackers. If you have any other tips I can add to this list please feel free to comment below.
Sharyn has travelled most of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. In her 20’s she went overseas and spent 4 years living, working, playing and travelling through many countries. Her travels inspire her ‘Live Work and Play’ series of working holiday guides and LiveWorkPlayTravel where she shares her knowledge of travel, being a digital nomad and blogging. Sharyn continues to travel and currently calls Melbourne home.