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Things to know before using public Wi-Fi

Hein Khant Zaw
I am a Computer Science Undergraduate Student from the University of Information Technology Yangon. I'm from Myanmar(Burma), currently living in Yangon.
・2 min read

Accessing wifi is not a problem while you are at home - it’s secure, easy to connect and no strangers are using your home network. However, when you are outside, using public Wi-Fi will give you a nightmare if you aren't aware of the risk of security issues. So, if you are considering whether to connect to the public Wi-Fi network at the shopping mall, the airport, etc. beware of the potential risk to your device because hackers love public Wi-Fi!
Although it’s risky to use Wi-Fi in public, I’m going to explain how to safely use public Wi-Fi services.

Use VPN

The most effective trick to staying safe on public Wi-Fi is to use a VPN on your devices. Although virtual private networks are not infallible, they can protect your privacy. They encrypt data that passes through the network and connect your device to a secure server, making it harder for the hackers on the same network or anyone who controls the network to see what you're doing. So, using a VPN will secure your information from other users of the same connection.

Always HTTPS

When the site you're visiting uses an unencrypted HTTP connection, most of the browsers let you know with the "Not Secure" label beside the URL. Beware of that warning especially if you are connected to public Wi-Fi. When you browse over HTTPS, people on the same Wi-Fi network can’t sniff the data that travels between you and the server of the website you're connecting to. If it’s over HTTP, it’s gonna be very easy for them to track what you're surfing. So, always verify that the website you surf uses HTTPS.

Never give away too much info

It’s better not to access personal bank accounts, or give sensitive personal data (your address, phone number or email, etc.) on public Wi-Fi. If you have no choice, you should consider using an alternative email address or phone number that isn't your primary one. And also, it’s not recommended to do online shopping over public Wi-Fi. Of course, shopping doesn’t seem like a big deal, but making purchases online requires personal information - bank account or credit card numbers.

Don’t let your guard down

Never leave your device unattended in public. Even if you’re on a secure network or unsecured network, that won’t stop someone from taking your device or sneaking a peek at your device.
Always keep your device near you.

If you follow the steps mentioned above, you will have more chances of staying out of trouble while you're using public Wi-Fi. However, Always keep in mind that no public Wi-Fi network is secure and you should always use public Wi-Fi with caution.
And Remember - any device could be at risk too.

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