For the fourth and final entry in our General Security series, we are going to talk about WiFi connections. If you have any tips of your own, comment below or tweet us @Send_Anywhere.
1. Secure Web Connection
The gateway to the internet is your WiFi and having a secure connection is the first step in protecting yourself. First and foremost, always make sure your home WiFi a) has a password and b) it is complex. Going on a unprotected/weakly protected WiFi leaves you extremely vulnerable to hackers gaining access to your computer. It is very simple and easy to just make sure your home Wifi–the WiFi that you most often use–is as secure as it can be. But what about if you are at a coffee shop that provides unprotected WiFi or has a password that everyone knows?
Recommendation: Make sure your home WiFi has a complex password.
2. Sharing, Firewall, SSL and VPN
In general, but especially if you are on an unprotected/poorly protected WiFi, you should make sure the sharing options on your computer are turned off and your firewall is turned on. When you have your sharing options turned on, that is basically saying that anyone on the same WiFi connection has permission to access whatever you have allowed via sharing. As for Firewall, this prevents unauthorized applications, programs, and services from accepting incoming connections. It controls incoming as well as outgoing traffic based on whatever rules you have set. Every computer should come with Firewall settings that are very easy to toggle with. They can usually be found in your “Security and Privacy” settings or something similarly named.
Another way to protect yourself on these unsecure WiFi connections–or on any WiFi connection for that matter–is by making sure the website uses an SSL. What these means is that the web address reads “https” at the front instead of “http”. While recent events have proven that SSL can have issues, it is still a much safer option than going over a “http” connection.
Lastly, for those of you who are extremely security conscious, running a virtualized private network (VPN) is never a bad option. What a VPN does is it enables your device to act like it is on a private network when, in fact, it is still on the public WiFi. This allows you to benefit from the security and other aspects of a private network while allowing you to work in a public setting.
Recommendation: When on a public WiFi, have your sharing turned off, Firewall turned on, only visit SSL websites, and if you are very security conscious, running a VPN is never a bad idea.