Improving Safety and Security on WiFi Networks
WiFi networks are incredibly convenient, but also present security risks. Most public WiFi hotspots don’t encrypt the information you send over the internet and are not secure. If you use an unsecured WiFi network and log in to an unencrypted website, your personal information (passwords, financial information, contacts, photos, etc.) could be at risk. If you use an unsecured network to log in to an unencrypted site – or a site that uses encryption only on the sign-in page – other users on the network may be able to see what you send. Hackers could hijack your session and log in as you.
Here are some quick tips to help you increase security when using WiFi networks:
1. Avoid sending passwords, credit card numbers, or other financial information over a public WiFi network.
2. Use security technologies whenever possible:
-A virtual private network encrypts traffic between your device and the Internet even on an unsecured WiFi network. There are a host of VPN service providers that provide personal VPN accounts. Many companies provide VPNs for their employees to help ensure secure remote access.
-Use websites that offer secure socket layer ("SSL") encryption technology. SSL technology is the standard for data encryption and for secure web-based transactions (such as e-commerce). To confirm that a website is using SSL, look for the "HTTPS://..." in the URL address. Note: the padlock symbol that appears on some browsers is not assurance that the connection is safe and secure. Always check to see that the URL starts with the HTTPS://...
-Double check the Web site address in your browser's URL field to ensure you are communicating with the correct and secure Web site – some malicious websites are designed to look like legitimate services and or may be requesting your login information with a URL that starts with HTTP:// instead of the secure HTTPS://.
3. Always keep your anti-malware software up-to-date by allowing the software to update its file of know issues (called signatures) as often as it needs to (could be several times per day or week
4. If you are using your smartphone, tablet, or PC as an access point for other devices to connect to the Internet – ALWAYS enable at least WPA (preferably WPA2) security then use a pre-shared key (PSK) (password) of at least 16 characters long using a mixture of lower-case & upper-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
5. Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts. When you’ve finished using an account, properly log out before you type in a new Internet address or close you browser.