Love Free Wi-Fi? Protect Your Android Device First on Free WiFi hotspot networks
Imagine: you are traveling, and you need to share an important file with your colleague immediately. Unfortunately, you have used up all cellular data for the month. What do you do? You rush into the nearest coffee shop and use the Wi-Fi there so that your work isn’t delayed. These days, free Wi-Fi hotspots are available at shopping malls, airports, public transportation, hotels, etc. According to a recent survey, people tend to connect to any free Wi-Fi hotspot available to them. At that time, they do not consider the potential risks or consequences of their actions.
Thus, most users fail to realize that using public Wi-Fi is risky. You may be asked for a password before logging in, but that still doesn’t ensure the safety of what you do online. Public Wi-Fi sure is convenient, but it’s a prized target for hackers. Therefore, you risk losing your money and your online identity when you use public Wi-Fi.
Of course, there may be occasions when you have no other option but to use public Wi-Fi. Below you will find the most effective security tips that’ll ensure your safety when you use public Wi-Fi.
Ensure that operating system is updated
There’s more to updating operating systems than simply delivering new features on your Android phone. Such updates also strengthen the operating system and fix bugs or other flaws that could compromise your security. Therefore, it is important that you install a new update upon receiving an alert. If not, your smartphone will continue to be vulnerable. In many cases, the issues might be minor. However, if there are severe bugs, you need to patch your system as soon as possible.
Beware of evil twins
There will be times when connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot will not have any repercussions. However, this misleading event should be an exception, not the rule. You need to understand that your data can be compromised once you connect to free Wi-Fi. And, in some cases, the network you connect might not even belong to the entity you assumed. For instance, let’s say you want to connect to the wireless network offered at Starbucks. Before you do, you notice two similar networks featuring Starbucks in their name. One of them might be an evil twin. It is a fake network that hackers set up as a trap. The fraudsters will monitor the activities of the connected users and could steal valuable information they exchange online.
Use Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Unless a trusted entity manages the Wi-Fi network, you should not connect to it. However, the chances are that at times the only viable option will be to connect to a free hotspot. You can prepare your device to connect to any network safely. The tool for this is called a Virtual Private Network. A VPN for Android is an app that will let you connect to a preferred location. Then, it will encrypt your internet traffic and ensure that your connection is safe. For instance, since unsecured Wi-Fi networks lack encryption, a VPN solves this problem by encrypting each communication.
Disable Wi-Fi as soon as you are done
While this is a simple idea and a simple thing to do, many people still ignore it. However, it’s a great safety practice to switch off the wireless internet on your smartphone or tablet when you’re done. You should also disable any internet connection sharing functionality before connecting. Disabling your Wi-Fi is an effective way of preventing unwanted malware from entering your device. With no data connection to use, drive-by hacks by scammers nearby will fall flat. To put things simply, this is a very decisive action to take while protecting your smartphone when you use public Wi-Fi.
Use Two-Factor Authentication for Enhanced Security
Hackers are always on the mission to steal passwords and other sensitive data using various hacking apps while you were connected to the unsecured Wi-Fi network. Your password will only be a part of the puzzle if you use two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication helps you make sure that you communicate directly and exclusively to the online service you intend to use. The providers of the online service as well can ascertain that it’s indeed you who’s trying to log in.
The two factors used in such authentication are something that you know, like your login details, and something that’s shared with you as a generated code sent on your mobile. You can be certain of using a genuine website after you correctly enter the two details. 2FA is offered by most of the security-conscious companies across the globe.
What are the risks of using free Wi-Fi hotspots?
- Man-in-the-middle attacks. This term refers to hackers or other fraudulent sources intercepting you connection. If your data travels from point A to point C, hackers intervene and read the communication midway.
- Unencrypted networks. This problem is probably the most severe. Unsecured networks might not encrypt the information about your activities. Without knowing how the network is set up, you won’t be able to tell whether your data is encrypted.
- Snooping and sniffing. Hackers could even purchase or make special equipment to spy on users connected to the free Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Malware transmission. Free Wi-Fi networks could also participate in the distribution of malware. It usually requires your device to have weak spots that hackers or other malicious entities could exploit.
So, Its significantly important to understand the risks involved in using public Wi-Fi. It’s important to implement necessary safety precautions before using public Wi-Fi regularly. The tips we have shared to keep you protected are simple, easy, and affordable. Follow them to keep cybercriminals at bay while protecting yourself and your dear ones as well. Exercising caution at all moments is the key. If you do need internet access, try to look for reliable options. However, there are options that allow you connect to free Wi-Fi without worrying about your data.