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Using a Public Wifi Network - Take Steps to Protect Yourself

By Rizwan Ahmad - 31 December 2012 No Comments
There is no doubt that public wi-fi networks make life easier, especially for those of us who travel often for business or pleasure. The ability to walk into a coffee shop or fast food restaurant and get right on the internet is a godsend, allowing business people to keep in contact with the office and travelers to send notes and well wishes to those back home.

Of course everything comes with a price, and in the case of public wi-fi that price is often security. Many businesses fail to adequately secure their public wi-fi networks, and that can put your data and your computer equipment at risk. You do not have to give up on public wi-fi completely, but it is a good idea to take some steps to protect yourself.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that public wi-fi networks are inherently insecure. Unless you know for a fact that the network is heavily locked down, you should avoid doing any personal or confidential work. Sending a few emails and surfing the web are fine, but you might want to wait until you get home to check your bank balance or review your online stock portfolio. It is simply too easy for public wi-fi networks to be compromised, and the owner of the network may not be aware of the intrusion for weeks or even months. If you have sensitive financial transactions to make, it is best to wait until you are back on your own private network.

Using a Public Wifi Network

If you plan to use a public wi-fi network to connect to the office, it is a good idea to check with your boss, or your IT department, before your trip. Many companies have set policies about internet access for their equipment, and some firms may restrict the use of public wi-fi networks by their employees.

Many larger companies provide secure online access to their resources through an encrypted web portal. If this type of solution is in place, it is typically safe to connect to the internet from a public wi-fi connection, since all data that goes back and forth between the computer and the company is securely encrypted. It is important, however, to find out ahead of time if the company you work for uses this kind of secure system for remote access.

If you work for a smaller firm, that company may not have such a sophisticated solution in place. Many small firms contract with third-party firms to provide their employees with remote access, and the security used by those firms varies widely. It is important to determine ahead of time what you can and cannot do from a public wi-fi network.

Public wi-fi networks perform an important service, and they are certainly convenient. By being aware of security concerns and taking the right precautions, you can enjoy the freedom that these networks provide without putting your data at risk.

Article writer beconrad knows only too well that using a dongle to connect to the internet has some security issues but emphasizes that accessing from a public wi-fi spot can be even riskier

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Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:
This article is contributed by beconrad and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of cyberockk.com, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,

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