- Can I trust the public wi-fi hotspot I am about to connect to?
- Is it safe to access personal accounts such as online banking while using a public wi-fi hotspot?
Consider these questions as you review the examples below. Try the quiz from the left menu, What Have You Learned? after you’ve spent some time with this section.
Video posted by: CNET
From coffee shops and libraries to airports and shuttle buses, there are wi-fi hot spots almost everywhere you go. But, have you ever thought about how safe it is to access to a public wi-fi hotspot? Many of the wi-fi hotspots are unprotected and unencrypted, which means your personal information is vulnerable. Hackers can even set up a free wi-fi hotspot to steal personal information from people who have accessed their hotspots.
The video above illustrates the flaws of public wi-fi hot spots, and provides one quick tip that will make your browsing more secure.
- Disable automatic wi-fi connection. This will ensure you are not connecting to a malicious wifi hot spot without your approval.
- Disable file sharing on your laptop. If the file sharing is on, other users who are using the same network can steal files from you.
- Make sure when you are connected to an unknown wifi hotspot that you only access your email accounts that are on secure sites. The address of a secure site will begin with https:// instead of http://. Review Protect your $$$ to check whether or not the site you are accessing is secure.
- The safest way to keep your personal information private when using a public wifi hotspot is to access through a VPN because VPNs encrypt the data between your laptop and a VPN server. UBC offers a free VPN service to students, staff, and faculty members.
- Avoid connecting to an online banking website, or any other website that requires your credit card information while using a public wi-fi hotspot.