Public Wi-Fi hotspot could steal your personal information
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Public Wi-Fi hotspot could steal your personal information

23 Jan 2018 TECH

By Zuko Komisa

There is an obsession to be connected wherever we go across the board. Whether you are at coffee shops, traveling or at the library, there are Wi-Fi hotspots. But not all of them are as safe as you think. This is regardless of them having a password; the reality is, you’re sharing a network with many other people you don’t know. Let’s face it, with any new technology, criminals are getting smarter with your information. You need to stay safe and this is how you should do it.

Information theft is prevalent throughout the world, this regardless of the limited access to the internet and the high prices of data especially here in South Africa, we all need to be aware of the potential dangers that exist.

Let’s start with settings. Did you know that it’s remarkably easy to steal someone’s username and password, see what they’re doing just by being on the same network?

How do you protect yourself?

The Settings

First, let’s start by talking about what settings and apps can keep you safe.

Turn Off Sharing

Everything that allows you to share files, printers, or even allow remote login from other computers on your network. When you’re on a public network, you’ll want to turn these things off.

Turn Wi-Fi Off When You Aren’t Using It At All Times

This is very important and is the quickest way to ensure no one is messing with your devices and it is very easy to do. Remember that the longer you stay connected, the more time people have to notice you’re there and start snooping around your device.

Only use Secure Network When Sharing Sensitive Information

Your information has no place in an unsecured open Wi-Fi network, especially with the security risk involved. If you still need to use a public network to check your bank balance, make sure you visit a secure website. Not sure if the website you’re on is secure? Check for a padlock-looking sign on the browser.

When Travelling

  • It’s important to turn off any features that will automatically connect your device to any available Wi-Fi network. While you’re at it, turn off your Bluetooth unless you need to use it.
  • Change your passwords before you travel to a new location, switch to new, complex passwords before you leave, and then change them back when you get home.
  • Update your software and apps and add security software to your devices, such as Norton Mobile Security, which warns you of suspicious apps before you download them.

It’s important to note that hackers might use Wi-Fi detector devices and other methods to capture almost all the data that goes through the router, such as emails, passwords, addresses, browsing history and even credit card data. So be vigilant, anyone can be an unsuspecting victim.