Wi-Fi: How to Surf Securely

Most people will take advantage of free Wi-Fi wherever they go. In fact, one of the first things we do when we enter a café, restaurant or airport is to see if they have free Wi-Fi. An average person will not mind taking the time out to enter their personal details such as postcode, full name and email address into the registration form to gain access to the internet. However, according to a 2017 Wi-Fi Risk Report, most people showed no concern for their privacy and had not thought about data theft or getting hacked. From this report, they also found that a staggering 53% could not differentiate between a secure network and an insecure one.

How to make sure you are connecting to a secure network

As the name suggests, we should always connect to a secure Wi-Fi network. With the advanced technology we have, our smartphones do let us know whether the Wi-Fi we are about to connect to is secure or not. However, there are other signs to look out for to be certain of the network you are connecting to.

Pick the correct network
Sometimes multiple network names will appear that seem very similar. For example, MarkCoffeeGuest and MarkCoffeeWifi. One of these networks is legitimate and other could potentially be a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack to trick you into entering your personal details. Always ask the place whose Wi-Fi you are using which is the correct one.

Try and use a Wi-Fi that has a lock symbol showing

This means it requires a password that has been set directly to the network and these types of passwords always give the network extra security. Understandably, a lot of places will not have this because of how impractical it would be due to the high number of customers and turnover they have. However, most places will have what is called a “walled garden” provided by a hotspot such as The Cloud. This will require you to log in via a browser to access the internet. This is the best second choice as it goes through a clear network plus a password via the browser.

Ask to connect

On smartphones, you may have the option to set your device so that it does not connect to Wi-Fi automatically. Select this option to avoid connecting to a malicious network. Never assume every Wi-Fi is safe.

Be your own hotspot

If you want to take even more careful measures, you can connect your laptop to your mobile data. This may drain your mobile data usage, but it is guaranteed to be safer due to its security given by your network provider.

This may seem tedious to some, but educating yourself on Wi-Fi security is paramount in a time where Wi-Fi is everywhere and as up-to-date and advanced as our technology devices may be, hacking still happens every day and we are no less of a target than anybody else is. Young people are accessing the internet more and more and it’s important that we protect them too. Find out how here. If you require assistance or are interested in using our services at Forensic Control, please do not hesitate to contact us.