Cybersecurity has come a long way in a very short amount of time, but that doesn’t mean we can relax and expect that everything is nice and secure. This is especially true when browsing on public networks. On public networks, the connection is often open and shared by dozens, or sometimes hundreds, of users. These networks are a playground for hackers hoping to gain access to your sensitive information, so it’s always wise to employ a few security measures of your own to keep yourself from becoming a target of malicious intent.
Look For the Padlock
When you’re browsing online, look to the far left of the address bar in your browser window. You should see a padlock icon, or the website name should begin with “https”—these are indicators that the website is encrypted and safe to browse on a public network. Encryption scrambles the data going to and from the website, making it much more difficult for hackers to gain access.
Know Your Connection
Have you ever gone to connect to a public wi-fi network only to realize there were two or three networks with very similar names? This is a common tactic deployed by hackers looking to access your data—they set up a hotspot connection that mimics the legitimate public wi-fi connection. By doing this, they can gain more direct access to your device, and they can potentially use file sharing to send malicious files to your device. Always double-check that you are connecting to the correct network.
Turn Off File Sharing
Having open file sharing available is the dream of every hacker hoping to cause you problems. By leaving your file sharing option on, you are giving access to your documents and files to everyone on the same network. It also allows hackers to share malware with you or send false warnings about system upgrades or other issues that trick you into accepting a malware download. The best way to circumvent this is to have your file sharing turned off.
Use a VPN
One of the best ways to stay secure online is to invest in a quality VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. VPNs encrypt all of your data as you browse online, making it inaccessible to hackers. In addition, it also spoofs your IP address. You can browse from a hotel in California, but a VPN will alter your IP address, making it seem as if you’re browsing online from Germany (or anywhere else). A good VPN with exceptional security will usually require a monthly fee to use, but the cost is worth it if you spend a lot of time on public networks and need a better way to keep your sensitive information secure.
TRUST THE PROFESSIONALS AT ARK SYSTEMS
Located in Columbia, Maryland, ARK Systems provides unsurpassed quality and excellence in the security industry, from system design all the way through to installation. We handle all aspects of security with local and remote locations. With over 30 years in the industry, ARK Systems is an experienced security contractor. Trust ARK to handle your most sensitive data storage, surveillance, and security solutions.