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5. Safety precautions for free Wi-Fi – part 1

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5. Free Wi-Fi – part 1

From IT Safety column in Doitsu NewsDigest (translated to English)

Cafes, hotels, libraries, airports, public Wi-Fi is everywhere, it’s great, everyone loves free Wi-Fi. Especially cybercriminals. Cracking into people’s data while they’re on public Wi-Fi is one of the easiest heists, because there are cheap readily available software and small portable hardware you can buy which simply allow the user to see everything you’re doing on that shared network. Your user names, passwords, your credit card numbers, your sensitive emails. Everything and anything you’ve typed, viewed, sent is there for the taking.

Are there ways to protect yourself while using public Wi-Fi? You’ll be glad to know, yes. Here are 4 best practices.

1. First and foremost, use the internet only via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This gives you an encrypted tunnel between your computer or smartphone and your trusted network, and your data won’t be easily readable for snoopers.
If you’re using company devices, it’s most likely they have VPN preinstalled. If you’re unsure, ask your IT department. For personal devices, it’s possible that your home internet router lets you to set up a VPN (e.g. Fritz!Box tells you how in this link https://en.avm.de/service/vpn/overview/ <https://en.avm.de/service/vpn/overview/> ). There are also dedicated VPN providers, and the article by Takata Genki (高田ゲンキ)in this link http://genki-Wi-Fi.net/vpn <http://genki-wifi.net/vpn> gives a good overview and guide on the topic. If you’re travelling, note that it’s important to set up your VPN before hand.

2. Security updates and firewall
Always have the latest security updates installed and a Firewall running on your computer. If you’re advanced, software like Little Snitch for macOS and GlassWire for Windows provide a dynamic firewall that lets you see all incoming and outgoing connections and block them if necessary. You can set rules to allow or deny certain connections which is very helpful.

Link to original article in Japanese:
http://www.newsdigest.de/newsde/column/information-security/8589-free-wifi.html

June 2, 2017

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