Coffee house, airports and hotels—three places that usually feature free Wi-Fi. But before you log on, there are three things you can do to protect your personal information from hackers.
“There’s an inherent danger in that because you guys are sharing a network someone might eavesdrop on your conversation, just like regular people do on regular conversations,” Derrick Song of Guardsite said.
Song is a security analyst for Guardsite. He’s also kind of a cyber rockstar.
He says to help protect yourself on public Wi-Fi, for starters, look for a little lock in the address bar when you visit a website. Especially if you’re exchanging personal information like email or a credit card.
“That’s using https - what that means is it’s a layer of protection for your conversation. People that are trying to eavesdrop, they won’t hear it correctly. It’s going to be all jumbled up,” Song said.
To be really safe, use special software called a vpn, or virtual private network.
Your company might be able to supply you with one, or you can subscribe on your own. Top providers include private internet access airvpn and torguard vpn.
They run several dollars a month, well worth the protection if you’re connecting to lots of hotspots. Be careful with free vpns, however. Cyberghost is one reputable provider.
As an alternative, turn your phone into a personal hotspot and connect through there. It might defeat the purpose of free Wi-Fi, but at least your surfing will be secure.