cyber crimeNowadays, open public Wi-Fi hotspots are quite common in caffes and malls; something that is a blessing in disguise for people on the go.

But wait! Is your online credential secured enough not to be hacked when accessed through an open network? Well, with the amount of fiscal rip-off these days, you just cannot trust any level of online security.

The situation can become even worse in case you are too informal about Internet banking or online shopping, both of which may land you in a sea of problems. The hackers always keep an eye on any confidential data being exchanged across a public network and hence one should opt for an US VPN services to acquire a safe connection. By the time you realize what has happened, the hackers may have already gained access to your confidential data. However, you can avert these by taking few imperative precautions.

Sharing should be turned off

Before you click on “Connect to network” tab, make sure you have turned off any mutual sharing of data. On Windows 7 and Windows 8 OS, this prompt pops up as soon you try to gain access to a public network; while on the other versions of Windows you need to modify the settings manually.

MAC users need to go to the Preferences and then click on the sharing tab, followed by un-checking all the boxes.

Never connect automatically to any network

It is ideal to connect to a network automatically while at home or office, but in an open public place it’s recommended that you should opt for the setting that prompts for manual connection. The reason behind it is that, the hackers may have already made a list of fake hotspots related to that specific location. Always remember, that a public network can be accessed by anyone and it’s very hard to catch the hacker amid them.

Try to be patient till you get back home

Online shopping and Internet banking is a sensitive issue when done through an open network. But most people make a mistake owing to their impatience and inexperience. This eventually robs them off completely. In any case of emergency, it’s much safer to use cellular data connection or simply getting back to the safe zone (home or office) is an apt choice.

While making any transaction, make sure you use the official application and if the processing takes longer than usual, terminate it. Sometimes, the SSL encryption used by few sites mess up the information; you need to stay alert on that part. Make sure that in any log-in page you are about to enter the details, is encrypted.

Use software and application for security purpose

For laptops, it’s imperative that the firewall is turned on while you are on a public network and it should be supplemented with genuine antivirus software.

For smart-phones, there are a lot of applications available to help you track what network to access and which one to avoid. It also alerts you before clicking on any suspicious link or malicious content.

Besides these technical things, one should also keep an eye that nobody is watching him/her over his/her shoulder. That’s another way of stealing the data even though it’s rare

You can read a review and download free firewall of your choice here or for antivirus read this.