How to Use the Public Internet Securely? The Ultimate Guide

Connectivity is no less than a basic necessity in today’s time. We thrive on connectivity.  The more connected we are with each other and the outside world, the more practical and efficient we become. Staying connected at all times requires access to a good Wi-Fi or hotspot connection nearby. This is why you will find most restaurants, cafes, hotels, airports, universities, public parks, and libraries equipped with a Wi-Fi hotspot.

But are public internet/Wi-Fi networks really safe to use? And if not, how can we ensure our data on a public network is safe and protected? Well, we’re here to help you use the public Wi-Fi network safely so you’re always connected on the go!

How to Encrypt Your Data Online?

While you have no control over the security of the public internet network, you can still ensure your data’s security and safety on a public network. Here’s how:

  • Ensure a Secure Connection

If the website you visit has HTTPS in the web address, that means you have a safe connection and your data is encrypted. However, this does not assure the legitimacy of the website. Most scammers attract visitors by encrypting the websites with HTTPS and then proceed to scam people on the site.

While your connection may be secure and your data may be safe and encrypted, it certainly isn’t enough to keep the scammers away. You will need to exercise sound judgment when assessing a website. Look for suspicious texts, demands, prices, pop-up windows, links or attachments, over-the-top prizes, etc.

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  • Use VPN

VPN or virtual private networks encrypt your data and personal information before visiting any website or app online. You will find many VPN apps in the Apple and Android stores. All you have to do is switch on your VPN before visiting any site on a public internet network and you’re good to go. It changes your location and IP address so your device can’t be tracked by malicious hackers online.

  • Use Mobile Data Instead

If you don’t have a VPN app on your phone and can’t use a secure connection online, it’s better to use mobile data than a public Wi-Fi network. Since mobile data is encrypted, you never have to worry about losing your data online.

How to Protect Information Online On a Public Internet Network?

But what happens when you’re in dire need of an internet connection and using public Wi-Fi is the only way. Well, here are some tips you can follow to protect your information online while using an open Wi-Fi network.

  • Avoid Accessing Financial or Personal Data

Never trust an open Wi-Fi network. It’s a basic rule taught in every internet 101 class. Any data shared over a public internet network is vulnerable. It can fall in the wrong hands and can easily be tracked if not encrypted by a VPN or secure internet connection. Avoid sharing personal and financial information with anyone, on any app or site when you’re using public Wi-Fi.

  • The Only Trust Encrypted Websites

To ensure the security of your data, make sure the sites you visit are fully encrypted. The URL should begin with HTTPS and should remain that way until you exit the website. The moment you find yourself exploring an unencrypted site, leave it right away.  It’s not safe and your data may be in serious trouble.

  • Don’t Ignore the Warnings

Do you know those pop-ups that appear on your screen when you’re about to visit a site for the first time? Yes, don’t ignore those. Those are meant to warn and alert you about suspicious websites and pages.

  • Install Plug-Ins On Your Browser

Your browser should always be up to date to tackle unencrypted websites. Install plug-ins and extensions to make your browser stronger. With add-ons and plug-ins, the browser is more capable of using encryption on suspicious-looking sites and pages. Moreover, it alerts you about scams and virus downloads too.

Wrapping It Up

While the best way to protect your data is to avoid connecting to a public internet network, it’s not always that easy. You can ensure the safety and security of your data by going the extra mile and following these tips!

Also, only connect with public Wi-Fi networks that can be trusted. For instance, Metronet is a popular internet service provider offering free Wi-Fi hotspots in many public spaces. You can find the nearest one and connect to MetroNet internet instantly. However, you must still take extra care about your data!