Is Public Wifi Safe?

We all know the answer, NO.  But, neither is driving on the NJ Turnpike like driving on the NJ Turnpike we all take the risk.  Just like heading onto the NJ Turnpike, constant vigilance and a little preparation go a long way to making your journey safer.

First a few basics.  If you’re in a coffee shop or public library, make sure to verify the name of the network with staff or on signage before connecting. It’s pretty easy for someone who wants to intercept your data to set up a network called “Free Wi-Fi” or any other variation that includes a nearby venue name, to make you think it’s a legitimate source.

Next, if you are connecting via Windows, make sure to turn off file sharing and mark the Wi-Fi connection as a public network. You can find this option in the Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change Advanced Sharing Settings.

Under the Public heading, turn off the file sharing toggle. On Mac, open up System Preferences and navigate to the Sharing icon. Then, untick the checkbox next to File Sharing.

Now for the hard part, if you or your employees are conducting sensitive business, using a credit card, or sharing any proprietary information use a VPN to encrypt your browsing data. If you don’t already have a VPN set up through your employer or workplace, there are other options available.

One free implementation is SecurityKISS which offers ad-free VPN access with data limited to 300MB/day.  That’s plenty of data capacity for checking email, looking at maps and other casual Wi-Fi uses.

Finally, once you are all done with your Web browsing, make sure to log off any services you were signed into. Then, tell your device to forget the network. This means that your phone or PC won’t automatically connect again to the network if you’re in range.

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