At E3 (an annual technology conference) this year, a new video game was showcased. Watch Dogs, set in the near future, is a game about an elite hacker who can hack into any device as long as it has a Wi-Fi connection. In the short demo, you see the character listen in on private conversations, hack streetlights to create havoc and steal a person’s information. While this is only a video game, it’s based on what one can currently do with and to Wi-Fi devices, many of which you probably utilize when you’re out of the office.
It’s a good idea to connect to public networks that require passwords when possible, as they tend to be more secure. Many public networks have a legal disclaimer stating network use and security. It pays to read these before connecting.
Turn Wi-Fi off
We don’t mean you should turn your Wi-Fi off permanently, rather, when you’re not using your device, or are connected to another network, e.g., mobile data, turn your Wi-Fi connection off. If you have Wi-Fi on while connected to another network, your device can and will actively search for networks to connect to and often connect to an unsecure network, unintentionally exposing your information.
Use HTTPS when possible
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). In layman's terms this is a website that has been built with security of user’s data in mind. Many popular websites have a HTTPS version that can be accessed by typing in https://www.sitename.com. Using HTTPS makes websites a lot harder to hack, and it’s a good idea to get into the habit of using them when on a public network or connected to Wi-Fi outside of the office.
Use data not public hotspots
Hotspots are public Wi-Fi connections usually provided by a company e.g., many coffee shops have Wi-Fi, this is a hotspot. These can be unsafe, so it’s much better to invest in a data connection for your device, or a mobile Internet stick, which are considerably safer as the data is encrypted before it’s transferred from the cell tower to your device.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network - VPN - connects multiple computers in different locations to the same network via the Internet. Many companies use this to connect and share data with satellite offices, as the data is encrypted and secure. The main benefit to VPNs is that you can connect to a public Wi-Fi network, and transfer data securely using the network’s bandwidth. Many businesses use some form of VPN, which makes it easy for you to keep your business data secure while out of the office.
There are also VPNs that allow you to securely access the Internet via a public Wi-Fi connection, while encrypting all data sent and making your computer anonymous. It’s recommended that if you’re out of the office a lot, to look into a VPN and follow these other tips. If you’re interested, we may have a solution for you, so please contact us.