Public wireless hotspots are common in coffee shops, libraries, hotels, airports, and book stores. While it may be convenient to connect to the Internet anywhere without using up your mobile device’s data allotment, you should be aware that public wireless access can allow hackers to easily access your system.
How to Protect Your Data on Public Wireless
- Don’t sign up for wireless service at the hotspot itself, especially if the provider requires you to create a login and supply personal information. Instead, bookmark the sign-up page and then sign up from a secured location like a home or office computer.
- Beware of pop-ups. Close pop-up windows promptly.
- Use University VPN to secure your Internet connection.
- Don’t enter sensitive information on the web over public Wi-Fi unless you’re sure the information is encrypted with Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).
- Only enable your wireless adapter when you’re ready to be online. Otherwise, leave it disabled.
- Ensure that your firewall, antivirus software, and anti-spyware software are active.
- If the public network is acting strangely, assume it’s compromised. Get off the network and disable your wireless connection immediately.
- Make your computer’s folders private to make it more difficult for hackers to access your files.