We work in a wonderful industry, don't we? In this digital age, we are afforded the flexibility and freedom to work darn near anywhere and anytime. At the beach, in the mountains, at the local coffee shop, or at the not so local cafe in Venice, Italy, we are able to log on to any one of the estimated 1.5 million public WiFi networks available in the world. With all of this freedom comes some very real risks, mainly being hacked and unknowingly sharing all of your private information with a stranger who has bad intentions. There are some precautions you can take to protect yourself, and your information, when you are using a public WiFi connection. Here are 3 tips for you to safely use a public network wherever you may be.
- Use only secure websites when transmitting sensitive data. You know the ones I'm talking about – the ones with the "https" in the address bar. These sites scramble the information being sent or received so that it is much more difficult for the bad guys to get info they can use.
- Install and use a Virtual Private Network on your device – Virtual Private Network (or VPN) software encrypts the data you transmit across the internet to all sites (secure or not). VPN's have been used by large corporations for years, and now they are available to individuals for small monthly fees. Companies like Private WiFi and VPN4ALL charge anywhere from $9.95 to $19.95 per month depending on the amount of data you transmit and receive.
- Do not automatically connect to a wireless hotspot – Change the settings on your laptop or iPad so that it will not automatically connect to WiFi. Some hackers will setup fake WiFi hotspots to make their job of stealing your information easier. Don't fall prey to them. Use only Public networks that use WPA2 technology. The network's security system is displayed in the box where you enter a password to connect.
Follow these 3 tips to protect your info and save yourself from a huge headache by having your computer hacked. If you've had your computer hacked or your identity stolen electronically, then please share your story with us below. It is a great opportunity for all of us to learn how these bad guys are doing their dirty work.