How to Protect Yourself When Using Public Wi-Fi

Let’s face it: we all know that public Wi-Fi poses threats to our devices’ security. And with CPU power getting less and less expensive, hackers are able to rent blazing fast computer networks, and then quickly discover our password, thus getting access to our most precious files, be them bank accounts or any other data we’d like to keep private, rather than make it available to third parties.

And yet, sometimes we are forced to connect to public Wi-Fi networks – when we are taking a vacation, for example. Fortunately, there are some simple ways that will help you connect to the Internet and stay secure at the same time. Read on to discover three methods that allow you to check your email and browse the web without giving away any of your precious data.

1. Disable sharing

It may sound obvious, but you should never enable sharing when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi network. Devices that share data over the network are open to hacker attacks.

It’s quite easy to do this in Windows 10, which tends to share a lot of stuff by default. Simply click the “Settings” at the right side of the taskbar, choose “All settings”, and then “Network & Internet”. Click “Wi-Fi”, and then click “Change advanced sharing options”. Use the settings in the image below to stop sharing your data with others.

windows10-stop-sharing

Okay, maybe you’ve already disabled Wi-Fi sharing, but did you also disable the apps that have this sharing feature built right into them? Lots of apps want to share your location, activities, calories burnt, and so on. Be sure to disable these features while you are away.

2. Make use of a VPN

Have you ever heard about VPNs – virtual private networks? Often times, their main goal is to access geo-blocked content. Believe it or not, they weren’t invented to circumvent Netflix’s geo-targeted content restrictions, but to prevent other people from tracking your online activities.

VPNs help people connect to a private network in a secure manner, encrypting the data flow through public Wi-Fi networks. Researchers from http://www.data-alliance.net state that most Fortune 500 companies make use of VPNs, allowing their employees to work remotely without jeopardizing the company data.

use-a-vpn

If it’s good enough for P&G, a VPN should be good enough for most people’s needs. There are several VPN services, and their prices are quite affordable, ranging from $3 to $20 per month.

3. Utilize the Onion Router network

Got you with that, haven’t I? You may have heard about Tor, but I’m pretty sure that you’ve never known that Tor stands for “The Onion Router“. It’s a network of servers which was built by the U.S. Navy, with the goal of allowing people to browse the Internet anonymously.

tor-browser

You will have to use the Tor browser software to navigate on the Internet, but the traffic is highly anonymized, so your IP can’t be traced back easily. It’s important to understand that Tor can be quite slow, though.

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