Public Wi-Fi Hotspots – Are They Really Secure?

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are very common these days. They allow you to freely access the Internet while on the move. This is very advantageous and convenient but is it secure? Is it possible for a hacker to compromise your sensitive information when you access the Internet using public Wi-Fi hotspots? Wi-Fi hotspots are not safe and have security risks. However, it is very easy to protect yourself. All you how to do is take a few security measures and your data will remain safe.

The main problem with public Wi-Fi hotspots is that you do not have control over it. On the other hand, you have complete control over your Internet connection at home. It may be possible for a hacker to create a public Wi-Fi hotspot within name sounding similar to a genuine one. When you connect to the Internet using such a compromised Wi-Fi connection, there is a possibility that your data may be intercepted. Just think of the consequences if someone succeeds in stealing your bank and credit card details. For this reason, you should always check the legitimacy of a Wi-Fi hotspot before connecting to the Internet through it.

As a matter of rule, you should never access sensitive websites on networks which you do not trust. For instance, you should never access your bank website while using Wi-Fi hotspots. Similarly, it is also not a good area to access online shopping sites on unsecured networks. While entering passwords, you should ensure that the website uses HTTPs. This is an indication that the data being transmitted is encrypted. Even if someone succeeds in intercepting the data, he/she will not be able to recover the passwords.

For security, you may consider using a VPN or virtual private network. This transmits your information securely to a server from where it is transmitted to the Internet. A VPN makes your browsing very secure. There are a few free VPN solutions but for security, it is better to go for a paid one because it is faster and more secure. You can also create a VPN yourself so that you can connect to your home computer from public Wi-Fi hotspots and other networks and access the Internet from there.

Another good option is to use TOR. This is a software which transmits information in an encrypted form by bouncing it off servers. It gives you a high level of anonymity and security. However, TOR has a few advantages. First and foremost, it is somewhat slow and also times out often. Many websites do not allow TOR. It is definitely not a good area to access bank websites and shopping sites by using TOR. However it provides you with a high level of security and anonymity and so is worth using.

Is this a post from Technology Innovation ?

No.This is a guest post by Aditya Venkatesh and he is a technology-enthusiast who is fascinated by computers and the Internet. In the past, he worked as a technical writer for a well-known web development company in Hyderabad, India. He blogs at ADIWEBS.

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