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Free public Wi-Fi has become available in airports, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, public transport, hotel rooms, you name it. Accessing your online accounts, catching up on work, and checking emails on the go is easier with when you have access to a free internet connection.
However, there are a variety of security risks you might be exposing yourself to by doing so. While avoiding accessing sensitive information or not performing sensitive transactions through a public Wi-Fi is probably the best way to protect yourself, there are additional precautions you can take to protect yourself.
Opt for a semi-open or two-factor authentication (2FA) network, or create a hotspot.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) networks do not allow the users to access the network unless you give them with your email address or accept on their terms and services. These networks keep the internet robots and the false users out and this adds another layer of security. These semi-open networks are much more secure than the networks that allow you to connect to them for free. On the other hand, creating a hotspot with your phone is a safer idea.
Enabling a VPN service.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) services channel your outgoing data through an encrypted tunnel or through proxy servers to hide your traffic from the internet. Third-party servers will not have access to this information either which gives your connection more security than you would have if you utilize a connection which does not have a VPN. In addition to this, a lot of VPN providers are equipped with anti-malware or anti-spyware in their software, which adds another layer of protection.
A firewall acts a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted network, which protects your data from being misused or obtained by third parties. Although a VPN is capable of blocking out unwanted attention and protecting your data, a Firewall is an efficient service which provides an additional layer of security. While enabling your Firewall, you have the options of selecting either the "advanced" option or "allow a program or feature" option.
Making use of websites that have HTTPS or SSL connections.
Opting to use websites that are hosted on an HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), which supports an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection gives more security while making use of an unsecured network like a public Wi-Fi.
If the site you are visiting is encrypted and secured, you will notice a green lock appear next to the URL bar of the browser you are using. This indicates that the interactions between the site you are visiting and the browser you are using is secure and encrypted even over an unsecured network like a public Wi-Fi.