The internet – the most impressive and influential invention of the last century never stops improving and evolving. What started as a military communication network has become a massive, multi-dimensional tool that enhances every field of our lives and connects people worldwide.
The web has experienced its most significant leap with the development of smartphones and the invention of wi-fi. Wireless connection to the internet has brought new, unprecedented levels of efficiency and convenience. Already excellent and versatile tools, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other tech devices have transformed us into modern-day cyborgs. Think of it this way: these devices can be detachable body parts that use the internet and other features that make us infinitely smarter.
Of course, the internet is not all sunshine and rainbows. Some things have to give, and the web has quite a few downsides that do not receive enough attention. Such a massive invention alters the way we perceive reality, and now everything on the internet is created to make our life a paradise.
While the changes in the social structure have a clear negative side that can affect the mental health of internet users, internet privacy and security have become the primary concern that web surfers have been vocal about the most. IT companies have found a way to mask pervasive user tracking with promises of further progress and convenience. This inhumane approach to technology is still poorly regulated, which forces aware users to pay close attention to their privacy and security.
One of the most beautiful parts of the internet is wi-fi accessibility. Because of it, we can study, work, and run our social lives in public areas. However, everyone who chooses to manage personal data in such circumstances has to stay aware of the dangers concerning public networks.
In this article, we will discuss the dangers of public wi-fi and the ways to avoid them. Every web surfer has to know what someone can do with your IP and other sensitive information and take proper preventive measures. VPNs and proxies are great tools that help us preserve online anonymity. To learn more about their use and the risk of IP exposure, visit https://smartproxy.com/what-is-a-proxy/what-can-someone-do-with-your-ip-address. Right now, we will learn the ways to operate in public wi-fi networks safely.
1 How to avoid data theft
With so many connections available at public places, choose only legitimate providers if you plan to work with sensitive data. Unprotected public networks do not protect their users, and third parties can see the information you send to web servers. If cybercriminals control a public wi-fi, connecting to such a network is the easiest way to get your data stolen. Internet users that like to work in cafes and other public areas become the victims of cybercrimes due to a man-in-the-middle attack.
Transport layer security (TLS) has helped to improve the security of wi-fi networks. Still, even if you only visit the websites that support TLS, the encryption won’t do any good if the malicious party is on the inside. Also, some hackers might still find ways to decrypt your data, especially if you download and upload sensitive files. In such cases, TLS encryption is far less effective.
2 Can you trust these wi-fi providers?
Unfortunately, despite the promises of a free internet connection, these third parties still find ways to get the value out of their users. Simply realizing what someone can do with your IP should warn you of the dangers of showing it to anyone.
While your data might not end up in the hands of cybercriminals, the sign-up requirements lay the groundwork for continuous user data extraction. Third parties still compromise your privacy by selling accumulated information to advertisers for profit. This way, a popular wi-fi network can become a great source of income, and the provider will most likely focus on bringing in an extra buck.
Attentive internet users find ways to avoid and mitigate data collection by exploring terms and conditions. Because most web surfers never read them, third parties can set up the most beneficial default settings to get the most out of user data. Once you understand the rules, you can find ways to reduce the amount of exposed information or look for a different connection if conditions don’t suit you. Also, if you’re paranoid about what someone can do with your IP, feel free to use a proxy or VPN to reinforce your privacy and anonymity.
3 Take additional preventive measures
Internet users that often connect to public wi-fi networks have to know the necessary extra steps and rules that help ensure online safety. If you plan to connect to your bank account or other websites that handle sensitive personal information, you might want to avoid using public wi-fi and use much safer mobile data instead. Even if you are working with a legitimate wi-fi provider, choosing the safest route for such operations is wiser.
Keeping your devices updated will minimize vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could use to steal your data. Installing protective software can also help to keep your system sturdy and secure.
If possible, only visit the websites that support TLS. Although it is not always possible, encryption goes a long way in helping you use public wi-fi safely.
Understanding what someone can do with your IP will help you prevent location tracking. Once you have a VPN or a proxy at your disposal, you can transmit your connection through an intermediary server and mask your location.
Public wi-fi networks significantly increase internet accessibility, which revolutionized the way we perceive the world. Readily available connections bring us a ton of opportunities, which have to be cherished. Once we learn to use public wi-fi safely, we can better enjoy and appreciate the internet’s greatness.