According to the U.S. State Department, it is reported that 71% of consumers consider a strong Wi-Fi signal a deciding factor when traveling rather than security considerations. With public Wi-Fi use being an inevitable reality it is important for users to maximize their personal security. The following are some best practices recommendations from WIRED magazine and the U.S. State Department for using public Wi-Fi:
Know Who to Trust – While no public Wi-Fi is absolutely secure, stick to well-known networks like Starbucks. These Wi-Fi networks are likely less suspect because the people and companies operating them are already getting money out of you.
Stick with HTTPS – A secure webpage, or an HTTPS, is a secure page that uses encryption and starts with https:// before the www. The “s” stands for “secure”, which makes a huge difference when you’re typing in things like your email address and password.
Turn Off Automatic Connectivity – Allowing your device to connect automatically to a network at home is fine, however, it is highly recommended that this feature be disabled when in public.
Avoid Transmitting Personal Data – Refrain from accessing any personal accounts that contain sensitive personal data, such as bank accounts, online shopping accounts, etc. Also, be sure to log out of any accounts you accessed when you are finished.
Use protection on your mobile devices – Implement a Cloud-based service that provides domain-level protection, content filtering, and integrated security awareness training to keep your users safe when they travel outside of your secure network perimeter. WatchGuard DNSWatchGO is a service you may want to consider. When a user clicks on a malicious link, DNSWatchGO automatically redirects them to a safe page and offers resources that reinforce security education. It also enables content filtering with 130 pre-defined blocking categories to limit access to risky areas of the web.
If you are interested in discussing how to protect your users when using mobile devices and public Wi-Fi please contact Mike Green, Director of Sales, NET Xperts LLC at 412.244.6389.