Many businesses (e.g. airports, coffee shops, libraries, and shopping centres) offer “free” Wi-Fi for their customers to use. This is good for getting you online quickly and cheaply but they’re also convenient for bad actors to monitor your online activity and steal confidential information (also quickly and cheaply). Give yourself an immediate cybersecurity boost with these tips.
- Install anti-virus (‘AV’) on your computer and keep it up-to-date. Install AV software on your home devices to defend them from malware. Keep your AV software up-to-date to receive the latest protection from new and emerging threats. IT Services offer free anti-virus protection for students and staff at the IT Service Centre.
- Keep your operating system, software, and browsers up-to-date. Install updates and patches for security vulnerabilities to secure your digital environment from known security vulnerabilities. Don’t ignore requests from your devices to apply updates.
- Only use websites you’re sure are safe. Look out for a padlock in your address bar for assurance your data is encrypted and can’t be intercepted.
- Use a virtual private network (‘VPN’) when browsing remotely. Use a VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your data so it can’t be deciphered by bad actors. IT Services offer VPN services to connect to the University’s network in remote locations.
- Turn off automatic file sharing. Turn off automatic file-sharing to prevent your data from being taken from your device without your knowledge. Also, turn off the automatic connection feature within your Wi-Fi settings to prevent your device from connecting to an insecure network without your knowledge.
- Be wary of rogue public Wi-Fi networks. A lot of the guidance above assumes that the network to which you’re connecting is a legitimate Wi-Fi network. Look out for signs such as ‘Starbuks Free Wi-Fi’ instead of (‘Starbucks Free Wi-Fi’) to spot traps set by bad actors to intercept your data.
If in doubt, don’t connect to, enter confidential information on, or download files from websites over insecure open Wi-Fi networks