3. Confirm Before You Connect
Because the names of WiFi networks are manually created, hackers can mimic the names of reliable networks. They often set up “rogue” or “evil twin” hotspots with names that seem logical or are similar to other networks in a given location (Airport Lounge or Lobby Wifi, for example).
How do you confirm a network is valid? Before connecting, check with an employee or another trusted source (an official sign or brochure, for example). And be careful: just a little difference in the name — one letter or number, for instance — means it’s a different network than the one you’re looking for.
4. Turn Off WiFi When Not in Use
It’s safer for you — and less draining for your battery — if you disable WiFi when you are not using it. The problem with automatically connecting is that you could end up joining a network that is unsafe. Did you know that, for example, if you connected to a safe hotspot with the name “AirportWiFi,” you could end up automatically connecting to a malicious network with the same name in another location?
To turn WiFi on and off, go into your device’s settings (on many smartphones, this function is available in an easy-to-access menu). And when you do have WiFi on, make sure any connections you make are intentional.
5. Don’t Confuse a Trusted Location with a Trusted Network
When you travel in your local area and beyond, you’re likely to visit many upstanding establishments, including coffee shops, restaurants, stores, and hotels. But just because you trust those locations, that doesn’t mean you can trust the free WiFi they offer.
Take this as fact: No open WiFi network is 100% safe. The good news is that you can reduce your risk. Make the effort to create new mobile device security habits for yourself and help others — like your kids, parents, and spouse — learn these best practices as well.