12 things you should know about using public WiFi and computers
Public WiFi can pose risks to your security
Using public WiFi is extremely risky. Hackers can intercept everything you do online – including capturing your passwords and reading your private emails. This can happen if the connection between your device and the WiFi is not encrypted, or if someone creates a spoof hotspot which fools you into thinking that it is the legitimate one.
When you’re in public, it’s preferable to use an encrypted connection – which means you’ll probably need to pay. With an encrypted connection, you’ll need to enter a code (called a ‘key’) that the provider gives you. You can tell a network is secure and encrypted as there will be a small lock icon which will appear in front of or behind the URL.
When using public WiFi, always verify the name of the network you need to connect to. Ask the proprietor of the establishment the correct name of the free WiFi they offer.
Don’t do online banking or other sensitive computing on public WiFi – especially if you’ll need to log into one of your accounts.
When using your accounts on any WiFi (even ‘secure’ WiFi), always log out of the website as soon as you’re done with your tasks. Do not simply close your web browser.
Never leave your portable device: laptop, smartphone or tablet unattended.
Be aware of who is around you and may be watching what you are doing online. Do not get distracted by somebody who could steal your device.
For all portable devices including tablets and smartphones, keep your security software up to date - having the latest mobile security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defences against viruses, malware and other online threats.
Protect all your devices that connect to the internet: desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices all need protection from viruses and malware.
Use the built-in safety features for your device: If the operating system offers a firewall, make sure it is turned on.
If you don't need internet access anymore, turn your device's WiFi setting off – this will protect you from risks and lengthen your battery life.