It’s a common scenario: You drop into the local coffee shop and having a few extra minutes on your hands, you pull out your phone or your laptop and fire it up. Then the next thing you do is look for the free WiFi…
It’s human nature to always seek the path of least resistance – and simply clicking on the WiFi without the lock is what so many of us do. However, when we do that we are potentially putting much of our private information into a hacker’s lap – or rather, laptop. Here are three simple – well, two are simple and the other one is tricker – things you should do to protect yourself from getting hacked.
First – If Free WiFi doesn’t have a password – Don’t Connect
If you are in a place with free WiFi, and there is an available network with no password requirement there is a chance that network is not what it seems to be. It’s a simple rule really. Like, look both ways before crossing the road, only log onto a network in a public place that requires a password.
It really is that easy.
Next – look for the lock on your browser
This is rather technical, but a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a website and a browser, or a mail server and a mail client like Outlook or Mail. You’ll notice that our aha insurance website’s address or URL has a lock icon and the term “Secure” before it. That signifies that we are taking your online security very seriously. Our customer’s information is secured and encrypted using this technology making our online transactions impossible to be intercepted by a third party.
HTTP vs. HTTPS
Normally, without an SSL certificate, a standard HTTP site sends data between browsers and web servers in plain text—leaving anyone vulnerable to eavesdropping. If an attacker is able to intercept all data being sent between a browser and an HTTP web server, they can see and use that information to steal your stuff.
Now all browsers have the capability to interact with secured HTTPS web servers using the SSL protocol. However, the browser and the server need what is called an SSL Certificate to be able to establish a secure connection so make sure you look for the lock and only interact with secure HTTPS sites.
Third, Up Your Security Game with a VPN
Let’s say you are a constant traveller or a telecommuter who does a lot of work out of a known secure environment. You should consider getting a VPN. A VPN or a Virtual Private Network hides your IP address by encrypting your connection and allowing you to browse online anonymously. In most cases, not even your Internet Service Provider is able to track what exactly you are up to while online. Here’s a comprehensive look at VPN’s and their ranking.
You might have noticed that things are changing at a rather fast pace these days. Considering the iPhone was introduced just ten years ago, imagine where we are going to be ten years from now. That’s why it is invaluable to try to keep on top of the latest developments if you have immersed yourself in this tech-rich world.
Here, at aha insurance, we take online security very seriously. In fact, along with providing our customers with the best possible auto and home insurance policies we can, it is our number one priority. For your own security, it’s important that you stick with reputable online companies who have that as their policy as well.
Wi-Fi hotspots are seemingly everywhere now and as we become increasingly used to the convenience and access to the “free” Internet, our awareness about how these are happy hunting grounds for hackers must increase as well.