Cybercrime: 10 Tips When Using Public Wi-Fi
We all know this old adage – prevention is better than cure. In a world where there’s imminent danger everywhere, we need to be extra vigilant so as not to become victims.
One of the most serious threats we face in this day and age is cybercrime. One reason for this is the amount of time spent on social media and surfing the web. In addition, with the population becoming increasingly cyber savvy, the threats are multiplying by the hour.
Cybercrime on the Rise
Sadly, statistics continue to paint a grim picture of how unsuspecting netizens are falling victim every single day. In 2014-2015 alone there was a 38 percent increase in cybersecurity incidents globally. If we don’t take proper precautions, this number is most likely to rise to unimaginable levels in the next few years.
Speaking of precautions, we need to bring this issue close to home and address it from an individual’s perspective. Basically, what we need to do is ask ourselves, what am I doing to protect myself from cyber attacks?
Targets of Cybercrime
Even as the corporate world adopts innovative and cybersecurity measures and policies, it remains one of the most targeted areas. Not surprisingly, employees being the most cited sources of compromised information. Unfortunately, departments such as Public Relations and Marketing have become high-value targets as well. This is mainly because they depend mostly on the Internet to perform numerous important tasks.
Social Media, for instance, also finds itself in the murky waters of cybercrime with over 600,000 Facebook accounts reportedly getting hacked daily. If that doesn’t send chills down your spine, I don’t know what will.
As a social media or digital marketing executive/manager, there are numerous ways in which you can ensure that you are protected from cybercriminals.
Photo by Tim Wright
You don’t want a situation whereby you are sitting in your favorite coffee shop patiently waiting for that reporter or influencer to come and meet with you and as you wait, you decide to do some little online window shopping and before you know it you are clicking away making purchases and BOOM… your financial details get stolen. Just like that.
As much as we love free public WiFi, it is one of the most unsafe places to be. Why? Because we’ll mostly have our guard down thinking, what could possibly go wrong?
Tips to protect yourself from cybercriminals when using Wi-Fi
Don’t be a victim or a statistic. Be proactive and use the tips below to protect yourself, family, and business.
- Set your network location to Public – this will securely lock down your connection.
- If you MUST use a public hotspot, only use websites that are fully encrypted. Look for sites that have their URL beginning with ‘HTTPS’ – the “s” at the end means that the site is encrypted.
- Be on the lookout for fake hotspots disguised as ‘Free WiFi’ – these are notoriously known for luring unsuspecting users. A free WiFi with no sign-in policy is a recipe for disaster.
- Make sure your firewall is ALWAYS turned on.
- Use VPNs (Virtual Private Network) – hackers cannot penetrate them because they create an impervious tunnel through which data is channeled.
- Use your own hotspot if possible but also make sure it’s secure as well.
- Protect your browsing history by using a different browser from what you’d normally use while at home of the office.
- NEVER trust sites that ask for personal information without first checking the authenticity of the site – approach such sites with extra caution.
- Access to personal information should NOT be done via public hotspots – it’s much safe to use your mobile device’s data connection.
- Do NOT use public WiFi to perform financial transactions or access such information.
Bonus tip, keep your software updated and ALWAYS remember to log out.