How to protect your data in public spaces
Travelers Downunder will often find themselves logging-on to public WiFi networks in weird and wonderful locations. However, using the web on the go can jeopardize your data security, so why not heed these warnings and consider a few handy hints for securing yourself and your information –
- Disable Sharing: If you share your data with other PCs at home or work, you may be doing so in public too. Make sure you turn off sharing when you’re in unfamiliar surroundings. For Windows users, go to Start – Control Panel – Network & Internet – Homegroup and click ‘Choose what you want to share…’. Mac users should click on System Preferences and then Sharing.
- Consider a VPN: Using a virtual private network filters all your information through a secure service that guarantees its safety. Free VPNs are available, but paid ones, such as Private Internet Access, have additional features recommended for frequent travelers.
- Avoid Auto-connection: Smartphones and tablets are often guilty of automatically searching out and joining WiFi networks if you pass through one. Have a look through your device’s settings and make sure it’s not doing that.
- Manage your passwords: Using unique passwords is a smart way of preventing all your data being compromised if one account gets hacked. It can be tricky to keep track though, so consider a program such as KeePass or LastPass to help you manage them all.
- Use Firewalls: A firewall is the first line of defense that your operating system relies upon to prevent malicious attacks. Always make sure you have it switched on and set to the right level. Windows users can find it in the ‘System and Security’ tab of their Control Panel, while Mac owners will find theirs under ‘Security & Privacy’ in System Preferences.
- Anti-virus software: Another essential tool in the fight against data fraud, anti-virus programs are myriad, easy to install and generally update themselves automatically to keep you safe. McAfee, Norton and Avast are popular, commercially available examples.