One Thing You Have to Do If You're Using a Free WiFi Hotspot

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Our use of the internet is completely enmeshed in how we operate on a daily basis. From mindlessly scrolling through our social media feeds, reading articles during a layover or doing some last-minute work at a coffee shop, there are thousands of instances where we need to connect to the internet to communicate and work. Admittedly, the internet connection we use isn't always secure. There are probably thousands of times you've connected to the free Wi-Fi at a hotel, the airport or your favorite hangouts. And while it might feel convenient at the time, the risks of using an unsecured internet connection far outweigh the benefits.

The reason it's so risky to connect to an internet source you don't know is how easy it is for you to get duped without being any the wiser — and certain Wi-Fi networks can be socially engineered, without any true encryption. So what is encryption, and why is it significant? For example, a Wi-Fi networked named "Free WiFi" or something close enough to the verifiable source's network connection — for example, "Google Starbuks Cofee." Connecting to these unsecured networks is like a Trojan horse — while you might get an internet connection, it also allows unwanted third-parties to harvest your personal data, which can include credit card information, social security information, addresses and more.

Public Wi-Fi connections are also a hosting ground to incubate and distribute malware that can infect your devices, causing permanent damage to your expensive devices. One of the most common threats you can encounter on these networks is called a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack. Essentially, a MitM attack is a form of eavesdropping: when your computer connects to the internet through one of these networks, your data is sent from point A (your computer) to point B (the service/website). The vulnerabilities within the system can allow an attacker to get in between these transmissions and "read" them — meaning the information you thought was private no longer is.

But we understand: sometimes you're in a pinch, and you need to use a public Wi-Fi connection. Here are three things you can do to protect yourself on unprotected internet connections:

1. Use a VPN.

A VPN is a tool/service that encrypts the traffic that you transmit from your device, making your location and information completely anonymous. Your connection is routed through a private server and conceals your behaviors/actions online.

VPNSecure is an excellent solution developed by security experts with years of experience and has millions of customers globally. It allows you to browse using a wide range of protocols like OpenVPN, HTTP Proxy, Smart DNS, and more. You can connect using a wide range of VPN servers with 40+ locations globally, including the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong — plus, access streaming sites without geo-location restrictions and enjoy a better browsing experience.

Buy it here.

2. Don't access websites that hold your sensitive information, such as such as financial or healthcare accounts.

Watch any website where you have to put your social security info — and be extra wary of the ones that auto-store your info for future usage. That includes your web browser, too. Avoid auto-fill for any PIN numbers and more.

3. Don't log onto a network that isn't password protected.

It might sound obvious, but that Wi-Fi network that doesn't require a password to access? Don't go anywhere near it. It's probably one of the dupes we talked about — meaning a space for potential hacker to harvest your data.

Written by StackCommerce February 20, 2019
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