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Wi-Fi hotspots: The secret to being secure this festive season
It’s that time of the year when we catch up with family and friends to celebrate the festive season. It’s a busy time for most and probably more than once you’ll find yourself connecting to free Wi-Fi whether it’s in a café, restaurant or shopping mall. But did you know most public Wi-Fi networks are unsecure and could pose a threat to the security risk to your sensitive data or identity?
Cyber criminals have some crafty ways to access unsecured Wi-Fi networks but there are some easy ways you can take to protect your devices from any nasty surprises this season. Here are our eight tips for staying secure no matter where you connect:
Lock it down
Most smartphones, laptops, and tablets come equipped with security settings that will enable you to lock the device using a PIN number or fingerprint ID. Do this on every available device. When you’re out and about it’s easy to momentarily misplace your device and this will be the first line of defense against a security breach.
Be wary of Public Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi access is very appealing as it can save on costly data usage but is also is particularly vulnerable to security issues. Avoid unencrypted Wi-Fi networks and be extra cautious using Internet cafes and free Wi-Fi hotspots in shops and restaurants; if you must use them, avoid accessing personal accounts or sensitive data on these networks.
If your phone has a setting that allows a device to automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks as you pass through them on your day-to-day activities, disable it. While this is a handy feature, think about how many of these networks you’re connecting to everyday. Disabling or setting this feature to notify you of any connections allows you to control potentially unwanted access to your devices.
Minimize Location Sharing
It’s become part of culture to share the best moments in our lives on social media, however excessive sharing could pose a security threat. By signaling your every location, and intentions you make it easy for a criminal to determine that you’re not at your home, leaving it vulnerable to a physical intrusion. Be smart and limit the information you post online about your specific whereabouts to avoid these threats to personal property.
Install Online Protection Software
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can keep your personal information secure. Use a trusted brand of security and make sure that you regularly update this software as new versions become available.
Update Operating Systems
Just like your security software, keep your devices operating system as current as possible. This also goes for apps on your phone; take special care to update apps that you regularly use so as to be protected from newly discovered security flaw that may have been patched.
Update your Passwords
Always keep your device and account passwords updated. While it may be an inconvenience, don’t take the easy option and skimp on password creation— the dog’s name or your child’s date of birth is not ideal. Take the time to create something complex that will keep a criminal from near your information or worse, your bank account details.
Disable Bluetooth Connectivity
Just like your phone’s automatic Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity can present problems. Bluetooth signals can come from anywhere. If it is left on, nearby assailants can connect to your phone and potentially hack into your device. Keep Bluetooth disabled as much as possible.
Enjoy a safe and secure festive season using these simple ways to protect your digital life while using Wi-Fi hotspots, but if you’d like that extra peace of mind that your connections remain secure why not try using a VPN, Virtual Private Network) like Norton Secure VPN for mobile.
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