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How to Use an Open Wi-Fi Hotspot Safely
We all need to know how to use an open Wi-Fi hotpot safely. That's because our lives are so Internet-connected that many of us can't go a day without accessing the Internet. There are many places you can stop by and use the open Wi-Fi hotspot.
Coffee shops are one of such places. Other places are Airports, Churches, and College campuses. I usually advise people to stay away from such public networks as much as possible. Then again, I figure abstinence is not the best policy but protection is better when faced with the temptation of using a super-fast public Wi-Fi network. Below are a few ways to stay safe on a public Wi-Fi.
Use your Firewall
The best thing to do before you connect to an open wireless hotspot is to turn on your computer firewall. I recommend having this on all the time. Some users don't like to turn on their firewall at home. If you turn off your firewall at home, when you connect to an open wireless hotspot, the firewall needs to be turned on.
Secure Your Email
Always configure your desktop-based email clients to sue SSL, which is the most secure way to send and receive emails. If you are using a web-based email, it must be using https. Luckily, big names such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and others use https.
Change Passwords Often
Make it a habit to change passwords every week. A password should not contain your date of birth, name, or anything that relates to you. Make sure you create a password you can remember. Also, do not store it anywhere on the computer, it safer in your head.
VPN means virtual private network. Many businesses have a VPN system. If you need to connect to the office and access important files and documents, make sure you do it through a VPN. This tool channels all receiving and sending of data through a secure tunnel. That way no one can see what you are sending or receiving on a network. Not even people using the same network.
Good Alternatives to Wi-Fi Hotspots
You won't have to worry about the security of your computer if you don't connect to public Wi-Fi. There are some alternatives. The number one alternative is your Smartphone. Many carriers are now separating voice and data plans. You should have both. That way you will be able to surf the net with your mobile device. You can always tether your phone by connecting it to your laptop using a cable. Better yet, you can use a mobile modem. Mobile modems are very reliable and easy to use devices that allow you to get Internet service anywhere you get phone service.
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