It’s easy to open up your Internet browser, access your favorite sites, and forget about the rest of the world for a while. After all, the kids are at school—you’re alone, right? Maybe not. While that computer screen may seem private, you never know whose invisible eyes could be looking at the same time. No, there’s not an invisible man staring over your shoulder. This isn’t Sci-Fi meets Wi-fi. We’re talking about hackers who could access your network. To protect yourself and your information from unwelcome observers, we have a few words of advice.
Public and Private Networks
Before you become paranoid, you should know that you’re usually secure enough on private Wi-Fi networks, especially with a Firewall and Antivirus software. For example, the Safelink networks– these are typically password protected and only you and your trusted loved ones have the password. This beefs up the security of your connection automatically.
Public networks are a different story. These are networks you’ll find at Starbucks or Libraries, and may or may not have any kind of password. Even if they are password protected, the key is available to those who ask or pay for it, so there’s little regulation of who accesses the network. When you’re connected to a public network, you need to take extra measures to keep your computer safe from prying eyes.
What You Can Do
First and foremost, you need to be sure that your computer is equipped with a firewall. A firewall is what prevents others from obtaining access to your computer without authorization. The best kind of firewall is one that you purchase, as the free versions can sometimes actually be viruses in download form.
Be careful using sites on which you have to log in with a password and username while connected to a public network. People who are spying on public networks can easily gather this information if you enter it on Facebook, eBay, or any other website like that. If you are like millions of other people with a computer, you probably have only a few passwords that you use for everything. If a hacker obtains one of those passwords while you enter it on the public network, he could potentially use it to access many of your other important accounts.
If you do need to log into a site while on a public network, try to use only encrypted sites: they’re the sites with HTTPS at the beginning of the URL. These kinds of sites encode your information so whatever the hacker may find won’t be very useful. You can also use a VPN, or virtual private network, to gain the security benefits of a private network while connected to a public network. Check out HotSpotVPN and other similar sites.
The best way to be safe while surfing the Internet is to never enter or access personal information while connected to a public network, and get a firewall for your private network. That way, you can enjoy your Safelink internet stress-free.