Public WiFi is everywhere and it's very convenient when you need to use the internet. Although it seems great, there are some risks in using your personal device on public WiFi. Enjoy free WiFi with confidence by taking these quick steps to protect your information.
WiFi or Mobile Data?
Accessing sensitive apps and websites such as mobile banking, credit card activity or your credit score tracking should always be done over mobile data. This offers a more secure connection than public WiFi. If you must use WiFi to access anything with sensitive data, including making any online purchases, use a browser app with a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
“S” is for secure
Look for the “s” in the website’s URL, for example, “https://”. If you see this or the lock symbol, it mean the site is secure. That website takes extra care to help make sure your information is safe from hackers. For example, “http://” is not secure. If you do not see the “s” or the lock symbol, do not put in sensitive information like your credit card number or social security number.
Please do not remember me
Make sure you do not allow the computer to remember your information. When the box “Remember my information” pops up, do not check it. Many websites have a convenient box that allows you to stay signed in even after you close the browser. If you accidentally do tell the browser to save your info, you can clear your cookies so it will forget it.
Don't forget to sign out of any websites you visited. Use the browser tools available to delete your search and website history when you are finished. Remember to turn off your WiFi access and your mobile data on your device when finished. This not only saves your battery life, it makes your device harder to access by hackers.
Think before you click
Beware of phony websites. Red flags indicating a malicious site are misspellings, bad grammar or low resolution images. Make sure you know what a document or website contains before you open it. There could be malware hidden in the link.
Bottom line, don't log into sites with a user name or password while on public WiFi. The best practice is to wait to use those sites on your secured home WiFi.