A lot of us are back on the move as restrictions loosen, whether it’s just to your neighborhood restaurants or a far-flung vacation destination.
But that doesn’t mean you aren’t still glued to your devices and forever searching for free Wi-Fi. (Related: How to limit your screen time.) If you have to use Wi-Fi in a cafe, hotel, mall, or other public place, take precautions.
Read more: How to get free Wi-Fi and internet anywhere
Public Wi-Fi security risks
Because public Wi-Fi networks are often open, unsecured networks, there are various types of cyberattacks that connections over these networks are particularly susceptible to. These attacks can allow third parties to see what you’re doing online, possibly stealing sensitive information like passwords and bank details.
Precautions when using public Wi-Fi hotspots
1. Use a VPN
The easiest solution is to use a VPN, which encrypts your traffic, shielding it from snoops and keeping your activity private.
2. Avoid accessing bank accounts
Possibly the most sensitive accounts you access online are banking and other financial services. Best not to log in to them over public Wi-Fi.
3. Use antivirus software
Antivirus software will often alert you when you’re entering a suspicious network or if any suspicious activity is detected. It also protects your devices against unpatched and outdated systems.
4. Don’t open password managers or cloud backups
We talked a little about why you should avoid accessing online banking sites while on public Wi-Fi, and the same goes for sites like password managers, cloud backups, and anything that requires you to log in to important accounts.
5. Connect via LAN
From a security standpoint, using an Ethernet cable makes your connection way more secure. Attacking a device over an Ethernet requires a hacker to gain access to its cable and router, so it’s definitely not as easy as intercepting Wi-Fi traffic. If you are worried enough when going online in, say, a hotel, take along an Ethernet cable for your laptop.
Read more: Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi: Which is better?
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I’m so glad I can get this done again
Just so I understand this correctly
When I am in public I never use anyones/ business wi-fi
and I always have my ExpressVPN on
So If I have to access a financial account
am I still safe b/c I am NOT using anyones Wi-Fi?
I have a viruse attach to my calendar
Will this vpn get rid of it? If so have at it…
A VPN won’t get rid of an existing virus. You can try uninstalling the suspicious app or, more drastically, perform a factory reset on your device to restore it to its original state.
Most hotels dont have Ethernet access anymore now a days. I travel a lot for work and I think out of the last 10 hotels I was in there was only 1 that had ethernet capability in the hotel room anymore
Does a VPN on in step 1 protect you from all of the other steps?
Using a VPN would increase your security significantly while using banking and other online services. Antivirus software provides additional safety in different ways (by alerting you to unsafe sites, for instance).
To make an Ethernet connection on you phone as opposed to your laptop, buy a small and relatively inexpensive lightning-to-Ethernet adapter (for iPhones) or similar for other phones. It’s also for streaming movies and Zoom meetings where the WiFi connection is sketchy.
I want to add ExpressVPN to a WiFi tablet; how do I safely do that with only a WiFi connection?
Thank you in advance for your advice.
Hi. Connect to a Wi-Fi network that you trust, such as your home Wi-Fi. Then download the ExpressVPN app from the App Store (if you are using an iPad) or Google Play (if you are on an Android tablet). Subscribe if you haven’t already, and sign in.
Once you’ve turned on ExpressVPN, you can use Wi-Fi that you don’t trust as much with greater security.
To learn how to set up ExpressVPN on different devices, go here: https://www.expressvpn.com/setup
Enjoy it and well protected, it’s great
I love this