Skip to main content

How to Use Free Public WiFi Safely: Best Practices

I am a freelance web content writer and that's what I do for a living. I love to write about topics related to technology, business, etc.

Follow these tips and you'll be able to stay safe while surfing the web on public networks

Follow these tips and you'll be able to stay safe while surfing the web on public networks

Public wifi can be a lifesaver when you need to get online and don't have access to your own network. However, it can also be a security nightmare if you're not careful.

In this article, we will discuss some best practices for using public wifi safely and securely. Follow these tips and you'll be able to stay safe while surfing the web on public networks!

The Dangers of Using Public WiFi

Now before anything else, let's discuss the dangers of using public wifi. This will help you understand why it's so important to take extra care when using these types of networks.

According to a study by Statista (an online statistics, market research, and business intelligence portal), there are more than 549 million public wifi hotspots around the world. That translates to billions of people using public wifi every day. In fact, more than 80% of Americans say they've used public wifi at least once.

With so many people using public wifi, it's no surprise that it's become a target for hackers and cybercriminals. When you connect to a public wifi network, you're essentially opening yourself up to attacks. That's because most public networks are unsecured, which means they don't have any encryption or security measures in place.

Unsecured Networks

What does that mean for you? It means that anyone on the same network as you can easily see what you're doing online. They can intercept your data, steal your passwords, and even infect your devices with malware. In other words, using public wifi can be a very dangerous proposition.

To give you an idea, let's cite a few examples of high-profile hacking incidents that have taken place over public wifi networks:

  • In 2015, the personal information of more than 150 million people was compromised in a data breach at Experian, one of the world's largest credit reporting agencies. The hackers were able to gain access to Experian's systems by using an unsecured wifi network at a Las Vegas hotel.
  • In 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was the victim of a major cyberattack that was carried out over a public wifi network. The hackers were able to gain access to DNC emails and documents, which they then leaked online.

These are just a few examples of what can happen if you're not careful when using public wifi. As you can see, the risks are very real and can have serious consequences.

Does That Mean You Should Never Use Public Wifi?

No, of course not. Just be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself. The truth is that public wifi is convenient and sometimes necessary. We just need to be mindful of the risks and take steps to mitigate them.

With that said, let's move on to our best practices for using public wifi safely.

Best Practices for Using Public WiFi Safely

When it comes to using public wifi, there are certain best practices you should always follow. These will help reduce your risk of being hacked or attacked while online.

Turn off Public Network Sharing

The first step is to make sure that you have public network sharing turned off on your device. This feature allows other devices to connect to your device over a public network.

If you're not familiar with the term, think of it like this: Imagine you're at a coffee shop and you're connected to their wifi network. If public sharing is turned on, anyone else who is also connected to that network can easily access your device. They could view your files, steal your passwords, and so on.

So it's very important that you make sure public sharing is turned off whenever you're using a public wifi network. You can usually find this setting in the "Network & Internet" section of your device's settings.

Use a VPN

Another great way to protect yourself when using public wifi is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your data and routes it through a secure tunnel, making it much more difficult for hackers to intercept your information.

There are many different VPN providers out there, so it's important to do your research and choose one that's right for you. Some factors you may want to consider include price, security features, speed, and so on.

Once you've chosen a VPN provider, setting up the service is usually pretty straightforward. Most providers have apps that you can download and install on your device. Once the app is up and running, you can connect to a VPN server with just a few clicks.

Generally speaking, using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect yourself when using public wifi. But it's important to keep in mind that no security measure is perfect. A determined hacker may still be able to find a way to intercept your data, even if you're using a VPN.

So it's important to use a VPN in conjunction with other security measures, such as turning off public sharing and being careful about the types of sites you visit.

Be Careful About What Sites You Visit

When you're connected to a public wifi network, you should be extra careful about the types of sites you visit. Avoid logging into any sensitive accounts, such as your bank account or email account.

If you need to access these types of accounts, it's best to do so over a secure connection, such as your home wifi network. Or, better yet, use your mobile data instead of public wifi.

In general, it's best to avoid any site that requires you to enter sensitive information, such as your credit card number or social security number. If you absolutely must visit these types of sites while using public wifi, make sure the connection is encrypted.

You can usually tell if a connection is encrypted by looking for a padlock icon in your browser's address bar. If you see this icon, it means the connection is secure and your data is less likely to be intercepted by hackers.

Of course, even an encrypted connection isn't 100% secure. So again, it's best to avoid accessing sensitive sites while using public wifi whenever possible.

Keep Your Software Up to Date

One final best practice for using public wifi is to make sure your software is up to date. This includes your operating system, web browser, and any apps you have installed.

Outdated software often has security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. By keeping your software up to date, you can help protect yourself against these types of attacks.

Updating your software is usually pretty easy. Most operating systems and apps will notify you when updates are available, and installing them only takes a few clicks.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! These are just a few best practices for using public wifi safely. By following these tips, you can help protect yourself against hackers and other online threats.

Do you have any other tips for using public wifi safely? Let me know by shooting me a message and help keep this hub updated for everyone! Stay safe out there!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Daniel Edulan Melana