Public WiFi Security: 10 Things to Remember Before Signing On

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2013-01-07 Print this article Print
Behave Like You're in Public

Behave Like You're in Public

People generally like privacy, and hiding behind a laptop helps us forget that we're surrounded by strangers. However, it's important to remember that you're sharing an Internet connection with other people. Think of it as though you are making a phone call in public. If you wouldn't say something personal and private with people listening, don't say it with your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Would you give a stranger your credit card or banking information? Don't do it in a public network. Even if there's a WiFi password, public WiFi can't keep other laptops from eavesdropping on your communication.


The Internet has changed how we work, play and interact with the world around us. That means that a lot of us feel lost without a data connection. So we take advantage of WiFi wherever we can—in coffee shops, airports and locations such as public transit and town squares. However, since many of us learned to use the Internet at our homes and offices where we feel safe and secure, we don't adjust our behavior when using the Internet in a public place. Public WiFi is one of the locations where your computer, tablet and smartphone are most vulnerable to attack. Thus, we need to be reminded of a number of salient security points once in a while. To this end, eWEEK and Jim MacLeod, product manager at WildPackets, put together this slide show about how to stay safe when using public WiFi. WildPackets makes a range of network performance management, application and voice over IP (VOIP) analysis products for vertical industries, including finance, government and education. Here are 10 things to remember the next time you're using a public WiFi connection that will help reduce your security risks.


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