05 Mar Staying Cyber Safe
In 2017 it was estimated that there were more than 9 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices in the world! 9 billion. Just to put 9 billion into perspective, “If you could live for 9 billion minutes, you would live until you were 17,123 years old.”
Wi-Fi was first released in 1997 for consumers to make use of. While Wi-Fi brings with it a multitude of benefits, there too are many precautions one needs to take to ensure cyber safety.
The question we aim to answer in this article is, “How can I use free Wi-Fi without getting hacked?”
Verify the Network
Have you ever sat at a coffee shop and wanted to connect to their Wi-Fi? When wanting to connect, multiple network names become visible. Before connecting to a specific network, it is of the utmost importance to verify this network.
Ask the waiter or waitress for the network name and Wi-Fi password. If the coffee shop has a password but the network you connected to does not ask for one, this is a major red flag! Be sure to tell the waiter or waitress so they may report it to their manager.
Disable Your File Sharing
If you own an Android phone you may be familiar with the term ‘Nearby Share.’ Google has mentioned that it is possible for users to share files anonymously. This leads us to our point, put your file sharing setting off! Chances are, you will not need to share any files with the strangers around you.
Use a VPN
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it ‘provides privacy, anonymity and security to users by creating a private network connection across a public network connection.’
A VPN causes you to be invisible to hackers, therefore they will not be able to access your files or see your online activity. Quality of VPN’s differ which is why it is important to make use of a reputable and quality service provider.
Use an Antivirus
An Antivirus is advantageous in preventing, detecting and removing malware. Be sure to download a reputable and quality programme, just like your VPN, and keep the programme updated for it to fully function.
Secure Your Accounts
What does it mean to secure your accounts? Add a complex password. It can be frustrating when sites and apps ask for ‘strong passwords,’ however it is for your own safety. Webroot.com states that ‘the key aspects of a strong password are length (the longer the better); a mix of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols, no ties to your personal information, and no dictionary words.’
Another tip in keeping your accounts secure is to avoid using the same password for all accounts, but remember, a password you can’t remember is useless.
You can also make use of two-factor authentication.This asks you to input a small code from your phone onto your laptop that changes every 40 seconds. This process is super easy and super safe!
Be Vigilant of Others
Possibly the most obvious and easiest route to take to ensure you don’t get hacked is keeping an eye out for those around you. Is there someone looming over your shoulder or an individual peaking at your keyboard while you type?
Be vigilant of those around you and stay cyber safe when using an open network.