From coffee shops and libraries to airports and shuttle buses, there are Wi-Fi hot spots almost everywhere you go. Have you ever thought about how safe it is to access public Wi-Fi? Many 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.
- 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 tips for protecting your money online, and ensure 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.
- Public Wi-fi users neglect basic security precautions | NBC News (2015)
- How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks | Life Hacker (2014)
- Wi-fi Security | Wi-fi Alliance
- 5 Wi-fi Security Myths You Must Abandon | PC World (2013)
- Microsoft Disables Wi-fi Sense on Windows 10 | KrebsonSecurity.com (2016)
- How to Make a Wireless Connection Secure | WhoIsOnMyWifi.com (2011)
- Spy Agency Tracked Passengers for Days Through Free Wi-Fi at Major Canadian Airport | National Post (2014)
The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the questions.
- What precautions do you take to ensure that the public wi-fi hotspots you use are secure?
- Are you ever concerned about the safety of your personal information when using wi-fi?