Using public Wi-Fi

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A hotspot is an area where Wi-Fi access is available. This may be through a home network or a public network in places such as restaurants or airports.

Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, airports, universities and other public places are convenient, but often they’re not secure. If you connect to a Wi-Fi network and send information through websites or mobile apps, there is a possibility it might be accessed by someone else.

To protect your information when using wireless hotspots, send information only to sites that are fully encrypted. Look for ‘https://’ at the start of the web address. The ‘s’ stands for secure. Many browsers also display a padlock symbol when you are on a secure website (see Lesson 4 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ). Make sure the site is secure for your entire visit. If you find yourself on an unencrypted page, log out right away. Don’t use mobile apps that require personal or financial information.

Tips for using public Wi-Fi safely

When you’ve finished using an account, log out.

If asked to set up an account to access public Wi-Fi, do not use the same password as you have for other accounts.

Do not download anything using public Wi-Fi as there is greater risk of malicious programs.

Ensure your browser and security software are up to date before using public Wi-Fi.

Consider changing the settings on your mobile device so that it doesn’t automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi. That way, you have more control over when and how your device uses public Wi-Fi.

Never perform a retail or bank transaction using public Wi-Fi.

3.4 Protect your wireless network

Virtual private networks