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10 Ways to Protect Yourself Using Public Wi-Fi

 Although there's no doubting that free Wi-Fi is awesome, public networks are far from being without their risks, one of which even includes losing all of the funds in your bank account. Here are 10 ways to protect yourself from fraudsters when using public Wi-Fi networks: 
 
1. Don’t use internet banking or type in card information
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Data theft is always a risk when you’re using a public Wi-Fi network, so you should definitely switch to using your mobile data when out and about to protect yourself from it. The price of a few megabytes of data is much well worth it when you consider that it’s ensuring your safety.

2. Turn off Wi-Fi if you’re not using the internet

Turning off your Wi-Fi when you’re not using it solves three issues at once, namely, the rapid discharge of your smartphone’s battery, preventing automatic connections to fraudulent networks, and annoying ad emails.

3. Connect using a VPN

A Virtual Private Network allows you to retain your anonymity when using the internet. It makes the websites you enter see a virtual network IP address, as opposed to your own. Note that most VPN services are paid, however, they’re usually not that expensive, and many service providers offer free services too.

4. Don’t let your smartphone remember the network

Most smartphones and tablets will connect to a Wi-Fi network that they’ve connected to before when they’re in its range. Fraudsters have the ability to create their own access points using the same names as Wi-Fi networks, leaving your profile data vulnerable to being accessed, not to mention your finances.

5. Pay attention to the name of the network
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Another trick that hackers and fraudsters use to gain access to people’s information is to use networks with similar names to the ones in the vicinity. An authentic Wi-Fi network normally requires payment and/or authorization to be used, but a fake one will always be free. Ask the owner of a Wi-Fi network about its correct name before connecting to it.

6. Install good antivirus software

Always make sure that you have the latest version of an antivirus software installed on the devices you use. New ways of hacking appear almost every day, and in addition, antivirus software warns you of possible fake Wi-Fi connections.

7. Choose two-stage authentication networks

Keep in mind that a network that doesn’t require you to take any additional action in order to connect to it might be fraudulent. Connecting to a Wi-Fi network that requires some form of authentication, such as requiring you to enter a code sent as a text message to your phone, is preferable.

8. Keep your passwords encrypted

You shouldn’t really keep your passwords stored in your smartphone at all, but if you really must, then make sure you use a password manager to encrypt your information.

9. Check the website URL
crucial-things-WiFiFake Wi-Fi networks might redirect you to well-known websites, but they do so to collect your personal data. A tell-tale sign is seeing weird characters in a website’s URL (address). You can prevent this from happening by using a reliable and secure web browser. Such browsers will detect such differences and warn you about it.
10. Use a safe connection
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A safe URL (address) will always start with https:// as opposed to https://. Some websites always use a secure connection to transfer data, however, you can install the HTTPS Everywhere extension into most popular web browsers.
 
Images by Deposit Photos
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