You often have to do work in places other than your office. It’s convenient to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, but it’s also risky. You don’t know who set it up or who else is connected to it.
A better option is to use your smartphone as a hotspot. But if that’s not an option—maybe your phone is dead or you’ve maxed out your data for the month—here are three tips to reduce your risk.
Know What You’re Connecting To
Hackers sometimes set up a public Wi-Fi hotspot with a name that resembles the name of the one you’re looking for. The hacker’s network let’s you connect to the internet, but it also steals passwords and other data transmitted through the network. Verify the network name.
Only Visit Encrypted Sites
Websites with “https” rather than “http” in the URL use encryption to transmit data. When you visit “https” sites, other people on the same Wi-Fi network can’t see on the data you’re exchanging with the site.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) service creates a secure connection between your device and the internet, even over public Wi-Fi. Most reputable VPNs charge a small fee.