Sharing Wi-Fi is a better way to reduce the cost of connecting multiple devices. The costlier way would be to connect multiple users through individual routers but this would make the connections too complex. Users connect to Wi-Fi sharing in hotels, homes, offices, and public places.
When connected to a shared Wi-Fi, it is easy for other users to access your data and manipulate it to their advantage. This is because everyone uses the same password and most Wi-Fi networks have no encryption.
Keeping your data safe on a Wi-Fi network
People have different intentions when they connect to a Wi-Fi network. Some solely want to peep into other users’ data and steal what they think is useful to them. Others are seeking passwords that might help them connect to other people’s funds and steal.
As a piece of advice, share Wi-Fi from Mac only to those who you know and are secure to share it with if you want to keep your data secure. Don’t share your Wi-Fi password with anyone, but only those you know are trustworthy and cannot misuse your data.
Do not connect to any network
It is easy to get excited and connect to any Wi-Fi router because you have seen a chance to use a free connection. The worst places to connect are any area where you see the sign free Wi-Fi or public Wi-Fi.
Hackers know many people will appreciate and connect to the network. They stay alert with their gadgets and monitor everyone connecting to that network. Because there is no restriction to who is allowed to set a free public Wi-Fi connection, there is a possibility a hacker can set a free Wi-Fi network solely to steal data.
Some places such as hotels, banks, restaurants, and government places set free public Wi-Fi. Many other institutions set shared Wi-Fi but require users to signup to the network. Before signing up, they give users a set of rules and terms for the use, which they have to accept.
Most users don’t bother to read the terms because they feel the texts are too long. They look for the ‘I Agree’ box and tick or tap on it. Unawares to them, those terms warn users that the Wi-Fi owner can install extensions into their devices and third-party applications. If you agree, some of the applications could be phishing apps or spyware that can hack your gadget and get all your data.
Connect via a VPN
A VPN uses encryption when sending or receiving data through a network. Even when connected through a public network, the VPN hides a user and masks their IP address. It creates a barrier between them and the shared Wi-Fi and thus keeping their data safe from tampering or any form of third-party access.
Only open HTTPS:// websites
A webpage can be HTTPS:// or HTTP://. The former means the site is encrypted and the latter means not encrypted. When you open a website that is not encrypted, it means your data is not secure and can be accessed by other people. HTTPS:// is more secure and could keep your data safe on shared Wi-Fi.
Keep your operating systems firewall on
On a shared Wi-Fi, a hacker can easily hack into your system and get all the data they want. When your firewall is on, it can block them from further access even when they have succeeded to some point. It offers better protection from malware.
Turn off remote administration
A remote administrator is someone who connects and changes your system settings remotely. They can only manage to do so if your gadget has its remote administrator settings on. As long as you are using shared Wi-Fi, keep the feature turned off.
Do not use the default username and password
Most manufacturers of Wi-Fi routers give the gadgets a default password and username. As a user, you might think the details are only known to you but to your surprise, every gadget manufactured by the specific company uses the same password and user name.
That means anyone who knows the default details of a specific Wi-Fi router brand can effortlessly connect to its network without your permission. To be secure, change the default settings and create your unique user’s name and password immediately after purchase.
Don’t ignore the red alerts
When you are on a shared Wi-Fi and connect to an unsafe site, your browser will immediately warn you that the site is not safe. Your operating system also has features that send warning alerts. Don’t ignore any of the warnings because you might save your data from potential loss.
How to keep your Wi-Fi router safe
You might be sharing your home Wi-Fi with other family members and if you are using the default settings, other neighbors or passersby can easily connect to your network. This scenario is also applicable to office connections where your workers share a network on Wi-Fi.
Keep your router firmware up to date
If you are using outdated firmware, it can become vulnerable to bugs and other attacks. Hackers take maximum advantage when they get a chance to connect and hack into your system and they can use the weakness in your router firmware.
The only challenge is that manufacturers do not create auto-update features in Wi-Fi router firmware and you have to update manually. It might be a tedious thing to do but the benefit is greater compared to the losses you might incur due to hackers.
Don’t compromise your passwords
There are two password rules that you must never ignore. Your passwords must be very strong and you must never share your passwords. By creating a strong password, you make it hard for hackers to guess your password and thus, you protect your data. Use lower cases, upper cases, special characters, and numbers to create a strong password.
Create a guest network for your visitors
You should keep your Wi-Fi connection secure all the time and share it with closely related members. If you get a visitor, let them use a guest network Wi-Fi to connect. This is the same precautionary measure you should take when you visit hotels, colleges, and restaurants. Instead of connecting to the main network, use a guest network.
You face a greater risk of losing your data when connecting to a shared Wi-Fi network. Your personal information can be accessed and you could lose important data and passwords. Know the people you are connecting with and restrict access. Create strong passwords and keep your software updated. Change the default username and password of your Wi-Fi router and remember to have a VPN connection at all times.