Wi-Fi Hotspot Security Tips

Wi-Fi hotspot is dangerous! Don’t simply connect to it! If you don’t believe, read this wi-fi hotspot security threats.

Here are some wi-fi hotspot security tips you can apply, so that can connect to Wi-Fi hotspot safely.

Use VPN to Encrypt the Network Traffic

Try to establish VPN (Virtual Private Connection) back to your home or office if possible when you are connecting to public wireless network. VPN will encrypt the network traffic when it travels through the air. Don't enable split tunneling feature on VPN connection too, so that the access to Internet will go through VPN connection instead of local public Wi-Fi Internet connection.

If you don’t have VPN access, then please ensure you use SSL (HTTPS) secure access whenever you login your email account or perform online financial transactions. Check your favorite browser, if you see https:// at URL address bar or small padlock icon at the bottom of your browser, that means the data you send in that page is encrypted. If it's not urgent, advise you to perform online financial or other sensitive transactions on home network or other secure network, much safer.

https - SSL encrypted page

In addition, please don’t use those applications, such as ftp, telnet, pop or imap that send data without encryption and you should replace them with similar applications with encryption (vsftp, ssh, scp, pops, imaps).

Note: You can set up VPN server at home if you are using Microsoft products, check out this Microsoft article on how to setup VPN.

How to Detect Evil-Twin Hotspot

Be careful by not connecting to evil-twin hotspot (fake hotspot). The login or payment for wi-fi hotspot access should be encrypted by SSL (this is basic wi-fi hotspot security), so that there is no leaking of your account information. Also the SSL certificate should be legitimate and valid for ensuring that this wi-fi service is provided by trustworthy provider.

You can check the SSID and other network information with staffs nearby too, so that you know whether it’s fake hotspot.

Note: Check out how a 7 years old girl hacks public WiFi network with rogue access point in less than 11 minutes here.

Secure your Operating System

Please patch your Windows or other operating system (OS) with latest patches for fixing security and application bugs, otherwise your OS would be compromised easily by the new exploits.

You should also disable file sharing feature when you connect to public wi-fi network. Most people will share files at home without password protection, and forget to disable it when connecting to hotspot.

Don’t forget to install Antivirus and Anti-spyware software on your notebook and make sure you keep the signature file up-to-date. Remember! Keep the signature file up-to-date!! I just don’t want you get hit by virus/worm by the time you connect to wi-fi hotspot.

One more thing, setup personal firewall is an effective method to drop those unauthorized access to your notebook and improve wi-fi hotspot security as well.

Note: Have a look on these free AVG Antivirus and Ad-Aware Antivirus. Pretty cool..

Don’t Use Public Computers

Don’t use public computer that are prepared at hotspots if possible. Since you don’t know what applications have been installed on those computers, so better don’t use it.

Who knows those computers are installed with key-logger program, or already infected by virus or worm. That’s why you better don’t risk your valuable personal information for this easy access. The best I can say is bring your own notebook for connecting to wi-fi hotspot…

Beware of Laptop Theft

Look after the physical security of your laptop! Remember to use cable lock to lock your laptop at public wi-fi hotspot!! It’s easy to use, just simply loop the cable around immovable object and hook the lock into special security slot on your laptop. Also secure your laptop with a hard disk password for providing additional measure of protection.

Check out more tips to connect to public Wi-Fi hotspot securely here!

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