By: ASC Team
Staying Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Undoubtedly, the availability of Wi-Fi in public places has made our lives significantly easier. Being able to check and respond to emails whilst sipping a cup of tea in a café or in a library has made working on the go particularly convenient. This is especially considering the growth in Bring Your Own Device policy adopted by organizations to encourage employees to work remotely and access all corporate files and folders from their personal devices.

However, using Wi-Fi, especially in public places, presents an array of security threats and risks that can go unnoticed by the user. It is the norm for many cybercriminals to resort to man in the middle attacks (MITM) by setting up a fake ‘Free Wi-Fi’ account in an attempt to steal or leak sensitive data. This has grave consequences for employees sharing confidential corporate information, such as customer accounts and credit card details.

So if the next time you think about using a public Wi-Fi network, here are a few things you should ensure.

  • Turn File Sharing Off - Make sure you configure your settings by turning off file sharing. Having your file sharing turned on is necessary for sharing important files and folders while working in the office. However, if you are in a restaurant or café, it could give unauthorized access to third-party users who may exploit sensitive corporate data or information. This is one of the easiest ways of minimizing risks of hacking and data loss.
  • Activate your Firewall - Your firewall is your computer’s best line of defense against running dangerous or suspicious files and programs. By turning your firewall on, you bar unwanted users from accessing your computer unnecessarily and thus provide an additional layer of security. To enable your firewall, go to System and Security in the Control Panel and access the Windows Firewall to turn it on.
  • Use VPN - Another layer of security you can add to your personal or corporate data is the use of Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs. Doing so helps encrypt all of your data from third-party access, which can be particularly useful for urgent office work. Although your device performance is likely to take a hit, it will nevertheless be an excellent fortification from the spread of malicious programs.
  • Use Two-Factor Authentication - It is always a good idea to have a backup plan in case your log-in details are hacked into or compromised. In such an event, having two-factor authentication can be a great resource. This provides a two-step verification system for your account. Should your username and password details are used, the third-party user will be required to input secondary information that only you will be able to provide.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Use of Wi-Fi - It is also crucial that you limit your public Wi-Fi usage as much as possible. After you are done with your personal or corporate work, disconnect your Wi-Fi to minimize security risks. The more skeptical you are of using public Wi-Fi, the better you will be protected from data loss and corruption.
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