WiFi Hotspots: What Are They and Are They Safe?

Using public WiFi hotspots is a great way to avoid an expensive data plan when travelling abroad. Some of the more tourist-prone cities, like Barcelona, offer free WiFi to all citizens in high-traffic areas. This service is awfully convenient for travellers and locals alike, but what are the risks of a public network and how can you avoid them?

Man-in-the-middle Attacks

These are executed by taking advantage of a relatively open line of communication to intercept data. The attacker inserts themselves in between two parties who believe they are communicating on a private network. This leaves users open to eavesdropping (a.k.a. snooping). An unencrypted WiFi network is an easy point of access for these attackers.

Steps To Cyber-Attack Prevention 

1. Turn off file sharing – this is a feature that allows you to share media and files with others- but it can also be vulnerable on open networks. To change these settings:

  • Search for  “Control Panel”
  • Select “Network and Sharing Center” or “Network and Internet”
  • Click on “Change Advanced Sharing Settings”
  • Toggle off the the file sharing option under “Public”.

2. Flag the network as public rather than private –  by default, access to Mac user data is limited, but if you’re setup as a guest account on your device you may still be at risk when using a public network. To temporarily disable the guest account:

  • Click on the Apple logo in the top left hand corner of the screen
  • Select “System Preferences” and click “Users and Groups”
  • Click on the lock in the bottom left hand corner – this will allow you to make changes.
  • Click on the Guest account in the left column and deselect “Allow Guests to Log in to This Computer”
  • Click the lock again to prevent others from switching this setting

After you’ve changed a few security settings, here are a couple of best practices you can follow to protect yourself at home or abroad.

As always, a multi-layered security plan is your best bet. Do your homework and make sure your computer’s settings are secure before you leave. Throw your FixMeStick in your bag too and run a scan at night while you rest up for your next adventure. Your security isn’t bound by your geography and neither is your FixMeStick!

FixMeStick is your key to a fast and clean computer. Try it today for only $9.95 and have peace-of-mind knowing your computer and all your personal information is safe. Buy today!

8 thoughts on “WiFi Hotspots: What Are They and Are They Safe?

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