Title image for How to stay secure on public Wi-Fi. Person working in a coffee shop on public Wi-Fi

How To Stay Secure On Public Wi-Fi Networks

By | blog, Security

Hands up who uses free public Wi-Fi when out and about?

We do, we love a freebie! 

However, public Wi-Fi is not always the most secure option. Of course, it’s great to be able to get online and not use our data, but if you’re taking your laptop to your local coffee shop, you need to be aware of the risks. 

Whether you’re on a laptop, phone or tablet, the risk is still the same. You don’t know who has set up the network, or who else is using it.

Hackers also love free Wi-Fi, because it gives them a brilliant opportunity to pry on you and snoop in on your connection – that’s all the data you share over the network by the way; your login details, bank information, information, photos, whatever you share using the Wi-Fi hotspot.

On top of this, people set up fake hotspots. If you’re unsure whether the network is genuine, don’t use it or check with a member of staff in the coffee shop or wherever you’re trying to connect.

We’ve rounded up our best advice to help you stay safe online when you’re not at home.

How can you stay secure on public Wi-Fi networks?

Limit your use of public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Only use them if you must. Use your mobile data primarily and public Wi-Fi if you run out!

Turn off automatic connection.

Make sure you turn your Wi-Fi on and off every time you use public hotspots, or you could be getting hacked without knowing.

Know which networks to trust.

Stick to well-known, trusted networks, such as Starbucks or Costa, as there’s less chance of a security risk. If in doubt, ask a staff member about the correct hotspot.

Use a VPN.

If you use public Wi-Fi a lot, consider using a Virtual Private Network. This handy bit of tech encrypts your data, making it harder to be hacked or for others to see what you’re doing. Do some research beforehand though, as some services are superior to others.

Stick with HTTPS.

Watch out for the little ‘S’ in the HTTP part of URLs. There should also be a green padlock to certify the website is secure.

Install as many security features as possible.

Two-factor authentication, antivirus and firewalls – use them to boost your security when browsing online. Remember to make sure they’re updated regularly.

Don’t use personal, sensitive accounts when on public Wi-Fi.

Avoid using websites that require sensitive information, such as personal banking. Social media and email should be kept to a minimum, as well as any websites that you store personal details on.

‘Forget network’ after you log out.

It’s almost like shutting the door fully instead of leaving it ajar. It will reappear if you choose to use that network again in the future, you’ll just have to re-enter the password.

Public Wi-Fi is a lifesaver, especially for freelancers and small businesses regularly work in coffee shops. But, you need to be cautious and take these steps to avoid getting hacked. Think about your location and the websites you’re using, and always keep your security tools updated. You never know who could be watching.

If you need any more advice on how to stay secure online, please get in touch with a member of our team

How to Create a Strong, Memorable Password

How To Create Unique, Strong Passwords You Will Remember

By | blog, Security

When was the last time you remembered your password correctly on the first try?

You probably can’t remember.

We all know that we’re supposed to have long, complicated and unique passwords for each account we own.

But, when the average user has around 23 online accounts that all require a password (and that number is only increasing), there becomes a point where we must accept that we’re only human and simply not able to master that many quirky combinations.

Especially alongside remembering to floss daily and take the bins out on time…

What if we told you that you can create a unique, secure password without needing a photographic memory?

Introducing the concept of passphrases…

This sketch has been circling the internet for some time.

Passwords V Passphrases

It shows you that choosing found random, common words for your password is a highly efficient way of protecting yourself from brute-force attacks.

This is because four, random words are just as hard for supercomputers to crack than a series of obscure letters, punctuation marks and numbers.

Also, because they are easier for humans to remember, we’re not tempted to change our passwords to something like ‘JustGilbey19’ – which could be cracked by a computer in seconds and a hacker in minutes.

We’d also recommend adding a few letters and symbols in there for good measure. For example, “PineappleTeaCrunch78!”.

You can try out the four common word passphrase trick here to see how long it would take for a computer to guess it.

With this being said, you can never sit too comfortably when it comes to your business’ cybersecurity.

Technology will rapidly advance, supercomputers will get smarter and hackers will become wise to our tricks.

So, it’s important to combine your powerful passphrase with at least one of the following:

Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication.

Nowadays, most online services and platforms boast this security feature. All you need to do is spend a couple of moments switching it on and setting it up.

When 2-factor is activated, you’ll be sent a unique code via text message or email each time you log in. Simply enter that code to access the application or service.

We understand these extra few seconds could slow productivity, but we’d definitely encourage you to take advantage of this security feature – if only for your more sensitive accounts, such as online banking.

Authenticator applications.

An easier way to manage 2-step authentication is using a special app, such as Google Authenticator or Authy.

New codes are generated on your phone or tablet every few minutes and it means that even if someone does crack your password, they’ll have to access to your authentication app in order for them to successfully get into your account.

Touch ID.

More and more laptops, phones, tablets, and apps are supporting biometric security tools – we’re talking thumbprint, face and eye recognition.

This is possibly the quickest way to stay secure – it’s faster than entering a passcode, so you have no excuses!

And, finally, brush up on your password habits.

Unfortunately, the weakest link in the security chain is often human behaviour and silly slip-ups.

Please be wary of the dangers of password sharing and not storing your passwords securely.

If you do need to write your details down, avoid using notebooks and stick notes. Instead, opt for a password manager, such as LastPass.

This affordable tool enables you to securely store your login credentials. Additionally, it tells you if your password is weak and can generate new unique combinations.

If you would like more information about staying secure, please do get in touch with us today and we’d be happy to advise you.