WIFI hotspots are common in most metro cities in India including Mumbai. Common places with WIFI connections include libraries, coffee shops, hotels, airports, universities, and other public locations. What makes these places popular is their good WIFI connection. For instance, if you are a college student in Mumbai, then there are high chances that upon visiting your college, you may switch off your phone’s internet to connect to your college WIFI as it may be using one of the best WIFI plans in Mumbai. Doing so, may not just allow you to complete your research work faster but will also not make you stressed and impatient, which you usually may become in case of a slow WIFI connection. However, do you have any idea that these connections are not secured in nature? Connecting to a public WIFI network may allow others to view your activities.
Here are a few of the ways to safely use the public WIFI –
Public WIFI is not secure
When you are at home, you can effectively take numerous steps to keep your home network secure through strong router passcode, restricting what devices may get into your network and by turning on the encryption, which muddles the info you send using the internet that cannot be read by someone else. However, when you connect to a restaurant’s WIFI connection, you cannot control its network security. While it is understandable that owing to its leased line, the internet connection may be fast, using it for all your needs might not be safe.
Why does it matters? If the network is not secure and you log in to an unencrypted website or a website using encryption only on the sign–in page, other network users can view what you can send and view using the public network. Your online session can be hijacked by others as you log in. New hacking instruments are readily available online even for those users with restricted technical know-how. Your info, private documents, family photos, contacts and login credentials can be up for grabs.
Scammers also can utilize your account to impersonate you, scam or misuse your usernames and passcodes on other sites – including the websites that store your financial info. If the scammer gets financial or personal info, they can steal your identity. When you sign into the public WIFI, you might even be sharing all your details with the businesses offering the WIFI. Many of the public WIFI networks like airports and hotels will even prompt you to install a digital certificate for using the internet network. They might do so to scan the traffic, which enables them to easily read your traffic even if it is to a website with HTTPS. However, there are steps you may take to protect your info even in public WIFI scenario.
Ways to encrypt your info
While there is not much that can be done to make the public WIFI more secure, you can do a few things to keep your data secure on the public WIFI –
Connect to the websites securely –
If the web address starts with ‘HTTPS’ it means it is a secure connection. However, using the ‘HTTPS’ connection does not mean that the site is legit. Scammers also know how to encrypt such websites. Consider the following ways for safety –
- Use a VPN app
- Use mobile data for logging in to important apps like your financial apps or net banking.
Protect your info when using the public WIFI –
Here are a few of the other ways you can protect your info when you are using the public WIFI –
- Do not access your financial or personal info – Always assume a public WIFI is not secure.
- Log in or send the personal details just to the sites you know are completely encrypted – To be secure in totality, login into websites that are encrypted; meaning your URL must begin with ‘HTTPS’ from your login time until you log out. In case you think you are logging into an encrypted website but suddenly find an unencrypted page, immediately log out.
- Do not remain signed into your account permanently – When you have finished using your account, ensure to log out.
- Do not use the same passcode on distinct sites – Using the same passcode everywhere will give someone access to all your other accounts if he has already gained access to one of your social media or personal accounts.
- Pay attention to any warning – Many web browsers alert while you are on any scammy site or downloading malicious software. Do not avoid such warnings.