Hotspots security

You are traveling to some city like Tucson for example, and you are near the University of Arizona and you see a free Wi-Fi.  First reaction is: awesome, I can get some work done and perhaps check your emails.  As with most temptations, this one should be avoided as well for a number of online activities.  If you must use a public Wif-Fi, a few considerations you must follow are:

  1. Hotspots are made for convenience and the tradeoff is the security.  Virtually all activities can be intercepted very easily.   Therefore using hotspots to check the weather, the news and Wikipedia articles should be harmless enough.  SSL connections are relatively secure as well.
  2. Never “remember” or “save” a public Wi-Fi on your device.  “Remember”ed connections tend to automatically connect when you are in range and you may not be aware that you are using an unsecured connection.
  3. If your device is configured to use a VPN when you are out of the office, then you are relatively safe.  If not, a VPN is a must for unsecured connections.  There are a number of built-in and third party VPN’s such as the Norton Hotspot Privacy and they are easy to use.
  4. Make sure you computer or device has “Sharing” disabled and your computer’s firewall is turned on.

As always, make sure your operating system and your applications have the latest updates.

Happy hotspoting.


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