Public WiFi: what precautions you should take into account when using open or free networks
By default, Wi Fi networks they are only accessible if you know their password. However, it is becoming more and more common to run into a wireless connection no password, allowing you to access it instantly. And free. And no one is bitter about a sweet as it is free internet access.
Public WiFi can be offered by a library, a public body, a hotel, a cafeteria, bar or restaurant… It is also common to find open Wi Fi connections in airports or shopping malls. We depend more and more on the Internet, and this means that in certain buildings or public access areas Public Wi Fi is offered as an added service.
But as the saying goes, sometimes cheap is expensive. And in the case of open networks, there is an important detail to keep in mind: these networks they do not encrypt the information that is transmitted through them, so they are not safe. Says the Internet Security Office and, in general, any expert you ask.
This has a significant disadvantage compared to a WiFi network with a password. The main one is that anyone with sufficient knowledge can use techniques to steal information from us. Hence the importance of your home WiFi connection using WPA security or WPA2.
But if you have no choice but to connect to public WiFi Because you need to check email or send a message, we’ve compiled a list of precautions when using open networks. You will prevent your data or personal information end up in the wrong hands.
We will also talk about Secure connectionMovistar’s free service for its customers that offers security when accessing the Internet inside and outside your home.
Your safety and Secure Connection
If you’re Movistar customerwith Fusion or mobile contract lines, you can activate the service for free Secure connection. Without you having to install anything, it protects your browsing and blocks malware and phishing threats. It will also alert you if you are going to access websites potentially dangerous.
Secure connection it works inside your home through your WiFi connection and outside your home through mobile networks. That is, if you access the Internet using 3G, 4G or 5G connection. And among other advantages, it covers all your devices regardless of the manufacturer or the operating system, since protect your connection before reaching your smartphone or computer.
If you are going to connect to a public Wi Fiyou can also benefit from the services of Secure connection. To do this, once the service is activated, you must install the app Movistar Device Security available on its official page.
The app is free, is associated with your Movistar credentials and is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. Come on, what can you install it on almost all your connected devices and thus obtain more security if you have no choice but to use a public WiFi network.
Keep your devices up to date
One of the most common pieces of advice when talking about security is to update the operating system from your computer, smartphone or tablet. And in addition to updating the system, keep apps up to date that you are going to use to connect, such as the browser, the mail client, WhatsApp, etc.
Having updated software doesn’t make your device invincible, but it does make it more secure. With the updates they are solved security issues and improvements related to its functions or its behavior are introduced.
Disable syncs for public WiFi
We have made it clear that on a public WiFi, your data circulates without encryption. So the key is send the least amount thereof. Some we send consciouslywhen writing an email message, when searching for something in the search engine or when filling out an online form.
But automatically, your device too send information when syncing data. It can be the app to upload your files to the cloud, the email manager when checking if there are new messages… synchronization services They are very practical but they will send data that can be tapped on a public WiFi. Let’s avoid this problem.
Only secure pages
Although the Internet connection through public WiFi is not as secure as it should be, we can use somewhat more secure services. When accessing pages and websites, for example, we must bet on those that use encryption and that they differ by starting with HTTPS instead of HTTP.
For some time now, most Internet companies have been migrating to HTTPS. Also, your web browser will tell you if this is the case by displaying a padlock icon in the address bar.
It is recommended to always use these pages, but on a public WiFi network, even better. That a page uses the secure HTTPS protocol means that the data you send from your browser to the server of that page is encrypted. That is are sent and received with more security.
Tasks to avoid
Among the precautions when using a public WiFi, it is convenient to take into account certain common tasks on the Internet in which they participate personal and sensitive data. It is advisable to avoid online purchases, banking operations, exchange of private data…
It is also recommended don’t log in in any service unless we use a secure connection via HTTPS or using a VPN, which we will talk about later.
Although the security of your connected devices rests in your hands and in your common sense and caution, you can resort to certain aids such as the different security tools available in the market.
Mobile operating systems, iOS and Android, as well as desktop operating systems, such as Windows or macOS, have security measures to limit connections and app permissions to send or receive data. Also, on PC and Mac there is a firewall enabled by default.
This does not mean that we cannot resort to external security tools, such as antivirus, firewalls or VPN services. The latter act as intermediaries between your device and the network, so that your data travels more securely.