The Internet is full of opportunities, useful information, entertainment, and dangers as well. To protect yourself from the latter, you need to follow certain safety rules. Read on to learn how to properly use a home or public Wi-Fi to avoid dangerous malware and protect personal data, and what is the role of nect MODEM in helping you do so.
Secure Internet Surfing
The use of public Wi-Fi networks in public places remains an important method of accessing the Internet. The vast majority of Wi-Fi networks in public places (parks, cafes, libraries, etc.) have a very low level of protection against hacking. However, you can encounter danger using mobile apps, and even browsing via your home connection.
Having gained access to the network’s management, fraudsters can gain access to confidential information of users – lists of search queries, information about movement, private files, and much more. However, the most desirable goal is always the logins and passwords from the accounts that you use. With a high probability, it gives access to the management of monetary resources through the accounts of Internet banks and payment systems.
So, what do you need to remember to stay safe on the Internet?
Not to get into fraudulent networks, you must adhere to simple security rules when working with public Wi-Fi networks. These rules apply to all types of devices – PCs, tablets, smartphones:
- Install antivirus
- Disable the automatic discovery and connect to available networks
- No money transactions: transfers, purchases, recurring payments
- Do not turn off the firewall
- Use secure connection protocol HTTPS
- Turn off file and folder sharing
- Update your operating system regularly
- Create backup copies of important files
- Be careful when uploading content.
Next, make sure you take care of the things listed below.
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Set a separate password for each service. It is better not to utilize the same password for the account in the online store for e-mail or online banking. If attackers get one key, they can easily hack your other accounts with personal data. The password must be strong and consist of letters, numbers, and symbols.
After entering your username and password, the system will ask for a confirmation code, which will be sent to you via SMS or displayed in the Google Authenticator application and changes every 30 seconds. With 2-step verification, you can keep your account as secure as possible. For more tips and tools to stay safe online, check out Google’s Security Center.
Be careful when surfing the Internet in a cafe, shopping mall, hotels, etc. The public network ISP may track personal information. Try not to use payment systems and other important services with such a connection. And before going to an unknown site, check that its address begins with https://. It is an encrypted connection protocol that effectively protects your data and makes the Internet more secure.
If you received an email asking to follow the link and leave your data, it is better to mark such an email as spam right away. There is a trick called “phishing attack” – an attempt to “extract” the personal data of users. Do not enter into dialogue with cybercriminals, so they can understand that your mail is active and use other tricks. Be careful: phishing links are usually similar to resources you are familiar with – social networks, online banks, and other sites you use. If you enter your personal data there, it can fall into the hands of criminals.
Basic tips to combat phishing:
- Track your account. If you suspect that your profile has been hacked, you need to block it and inform the resource administrators about it as soon as possible.
- Use secure websites, including online stores and search engines.
- Use complex and different passwords. Thus, if you are hacked, the attackers will have access to only one of your profiles on the network, and not al.
- If you have been hacked, you need to warn all your email contacts and social media connections that you have been hacked and, possibly, spam and links to phishing sites will be sent on your behalf.
- Set a strong password on your mobile phone.
- Disable saving the password in the browser.
- Do not open files and other attachments in emails, even if they come from your friends. Better check with them if they have sent you these files.
When connecting to a free Wi-Fi point, you usually need to go through the standard registration. You need to carefully read the user agreement to understand why the provider collects your personal data. For example, large free Wi-Fi advertising networks are specially created in public places by marketing firms willing to provide you with fast enough traffic in exchange for an email address or a phone number.
Note: it is known that hackers can create their own free Wi-Fi networks to catch gullible citizens looking for faster traffic. If you have no idea what institution or provider connection point belongs to, then it is better not to connect to such a network. It is very likely that scammers created it.
Connection Via Mobile Applications
If you connect to Wi-Fi from your phone, then it is advisable to use any mobile browser than a mobile application, because browsers are more responsible in using the secure HTTPS protocol. If you use an online application, they can accept fake security credentials without your knowledge or consent. This fraud leads to great danger even when you are just surfing the web, not to mention online banking or paying for goods on the Internet.
The security of mobile applications depends on the conscientiousness of the developers. There is almost nothing you can do on your own to further ensure your security. Use online applications from time-tested, large companies, and trusted developers. For example, most large banks value their reputation very much and care about user data security making sure their applications have
- built-in antivirus,
- multilevel user authentication,
- encrypted protocols that are used to communicate with the bank,
- as well as VPN connections.
All of these technologies can largely limit the risk of losing information even when using open Wi-Fi networks, although this is still no one hundred percent guarantee. The mobile versions of the Internet browsers Google Chrome and Safari can provide the same security that they provide in the full version.
If you use a portable modem, there are much fewer chances that you will lose your data, as such modems have built-in functions that block dangerous sites. While 4G LTE modems have built-in firewalls, nect MODEM goes a step further arming the LTE modem with a VPN, which has proven to be the best cybersecurity trick. Needless to day, nect MODEM allows you a secure LTE connection eliminating the need to connect to public wifi.
VPN (a virtual private network) routes your traffic through dedicated, encrypted servers, so you need one you can trust. If you can afford to use a paid and reputable VPN service, this is a big plus. Again, nect is a VPN modem, which means it already has VPN services pre-configured, so all you have to do is just to purchase the plan. We do recommend you to stay cautious with free VPN services as these may turn out to be part of cyber criminal’s schemes. Thus, choose only well-known, time-tested services with many positive reviews.
Many modern websites use SSL encrypted protocol. This protocol allows the device to communicate with the site in a secure manner. However, the number of such secure sites is still not very large, so it is useful to install the SSL Everywhere browser extension on your devices. Thanks to this permission, the exchange of information with any website, even the oldest, will be encrypted, which will drastically reduce the likelihood that your confidential data will fall into the hands of intruders in an easily accessible form.
Additional Cybersecurity Tips
Regardless of which tricks you use to protect yourself from data loss as much as possible, remember that public networks are inherently more vulnerable to attackers than those in your home or workplace. If you think you will need to enter banking information or urgently go to a very important web service, better take a portable internet modem for secure LTE connection with you instead of using a public Wi-Fi access point.
Think twice about entering passwords, usernames, credit card information, or other sensitive information if connected through a public network. Someone may be constantly intercepting packets on this network. If possible, use such networks only to watch the news, search for information, watch videos, and listen to music.
Use double authentication for authorization on sites that are important to you, for example, Google services. Also, remember to log out of your account on websites and applications before closing your browser or unloading the application. It makes a lot of sense to use different, complex passwords for each website and application. In case of data loss, attackers will have access to only one account, not all.
Today, more and more free Wi-Fi providers are making additional efforts to minimize risks to user data security. Many cafes, hotel chains, and all kinds of institutions sign contracts with external firms that have already proven themselves in this area. However, if you want to have control over your data security in your own hands, take care to follow the above listed rules.
If you missed some of them, here are the three essential ones:
- Use your nect MODEM to prevent data breach when working outside of corporate systems
- use various complex passwords and two-step authentication,
- stay alert: do not store passwords on a laptop or smartphone in plain text, do not succumb to phishing schemes, make sure you access websites with secure SSL protocols.
All illustrations are created by Lucy Ivanova, a Chief Creative Officer at nect.