Coffee is great, but is the open and free public Wi-Fi trusted? This morning I visited a local coffee shop and enjoyed a cup of java with a fresh blueberry scone. While at this coffee shop, like others; I connected my devices to the local Wi-Fi access point when I found faster internet service than my service providers.
Public Wi-Fi Best Practices
What are the suggested best practices for using public Wi-Fi?
- Connect to the right access point name by asking ‘what is the proper network name’ if it is not posted.
- Locked Wi-Fi networks require a password. Use of access points with passwords is yet another check that you are connecting to the right network.
- In the device settings, set your phone, tablet, or laptop to ‘Ask to Join Networks’
- Your smartphone hotspot can tether to a laptop, is enabled. Do use a password to make the handshake between the devices.
- Carry a mobile hotspot with you. Provided there is a cellular tower in the area that supports your mobile hotspot, you may even have faster speeds with your own hotspot (example a 5G hotspot).
- Avoid using personal-secure data like banking or credit card information.
- Use good password hygiene. Also use second factor authentication and consider using password managers to manage stronger, unique passwords.
- Check for website secure connections (HTTPS).
- Consider using VPN – Virtual Private Network software. Your devices and locations will be less apt to be deciphered.
- In Windows, turn-off sharing properties.
- Keep your operating system and apps updated.
The author of this article, Marc Czarnecki frequently visits coffee shops and uses public Wi-Fi for the benefit of faster and more dependable connections that sometimes are better than mobile / cellular connections.
Questions or comments about broadband in Western North Carolina?
- Call Marc at the Digital Literacy Network at 828-365-8299
- Email Marc at Marc@WNCBroadband.org
Griffith E. – 13 Tips for Public Wi-Fi Hotspot Security. PCMAG. Published June 22, 2021. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/tips-for-public-wi-fi-hotspot-security
Kaspersky – Public WiFi Security. usa.kaspersky.com. Published January 13, 2021. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://usa.kaspersky.com/resource-center/preemptive-safety/public-wifi