How to use Wireless Networks or Wi-Fi securely in Public

Last Update: April 9, 2017

Free wireless Internet, Wi-fi, sign

Free Wi-Fi is available in many locations, from your local café or Starbucks to McDonald’s and many other restaurants. Using these mostly unsecured, public wireless networks puts your information at risk. It is important to employ several safeguards when surfing at a public hotspot. If you are using a cybercafe’s shared computer, we would only use it to view information, not to even get your e-mail. Chance are high that it is compromised.

Many public wireless networks are completely unencrypted so that users can log on to them easily. This opens up a huge security hole as any hacker or sophisticated computer user could easily see all the sensitive data being transmitted. Passwords to online stores or email accounts can be easily captured by increasingly easy to use tools. In this article, we will help you access public wireless networks safely. Settings within your operating system may need to be optimized, additional software installed, and third party services may need to be subscribed to.

McDonalds Free Wi-Fi

Finding Free Wi-Fi

  • Boingo has a Wi-Fi locator. The Starbucks and McDonald’s entries are free.
  • jiwire has a Wi-Fi hot spot locator
  • There are several free apps that help you find Wi-Fi (Free Wi-Fi Finder on iPhones and WiFi Finder for Android)

Secure your computer, web browser, Internet connection

Follow our guides to secure your Windows PC or secure your Macintosh by installing the right software, firewall, antivirus software, etc. Secure your mobile devices: iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet, iPad. Configure the settings and add plug-ins to you web browser so that it is more secure. Consult our tutorials for: Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Secure your Internet Connection: Wireless Network, Public Wi-Fi.

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Android Smartphone Security, How to securely use your Android Smartphone or Tablet

Last Updated: August 26, 2017

Android Smartphone,Samsung Galaxy 2, T-Mobile

Google’s Android operating system powers many popular cellphones including the popular Samsung Galaxy S8. Most Android Smartphone users as well as most of the pubic at large do not think very much about security.

If your phone is not running the latest Android security patches, you are open to attack. A recent Wall Street Journal article showed that only 2.8% of Android devices have the latest security patches. Compare that to 79% of iPhones due to Apple’s uniform eco-system.

Google Play Protect

  • Be sure your device is running Google Play Protect.  It scans for Malware and bad apps. This was release in July 2017 and runs on Google Play Services 11 or higher. This is a unification of Android security systems like Verify Apps, browser protection, and anti-theft measures.

Most Up to Date Android phone

This flagship phone runs the latest Android version and is patched regularly. Sold directly from Google or from a couple carriers.

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iPhone Security, How to securely use your iPhone

Last Update: 10/10/2017

Apple iPhone 3GS

Matthew Green, a well respected cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins has a great article discussing Secure Computing – Desktops vs Smartphones, iOS vs Android and more..

Most iPhone users do not think very much about security. The iPhone is part of Apple’s closed ecosystem, helping to prevent viruses and malware from wreaking havoc. As the iPhone has grown in popularity, the smartphone has become more of a target by hackers and criminals. It is important that iPhone users immediately become more vigilant about smartphone security.  Our tutorial covers the iPhone through iPhone 7 Plus and iOS through iOS 11.

0. Obsolete Hardware

If you have an iPhone or iPad that no longer gets updates, we would recycle it and buy a new one RIGHT away. Keep in mind that iOS 10.3.3 is the first version that fixed a Huge Broadcom Wi-Fi bug. Without that fix, you can get hacked by just having a Wi-Fi signal nearby.

1. iPhone Software Updates

Apple upgrades the iOS software for the iPhone from time to time. Updates include additional functionality as well as security bug fixes. It is important that users apply updates immediately. Before iOS 5 users needed to connect their iPhones to a computer in order to update the smartphone’s software. Needless to say, this was inconvenient and led to many iPhones with obsolete software.

Always update to the latest iOS software available as soon as possible.

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iPad Security, How to securely use your iPad

Apple iPad, tablet computer

Most iPad users do not think very much about security. The iPad is part of Apple’s closed ecosystem, helping to prevent viruses and malware from wreaking havoc. As the iPad has grown in popularity, the tablet has become more of a target by hackers and criminals. It is important that iPad users immediately become more vigilant about tablet security. Our tutorial covers the iPad, and iPad 2.

1. iPad Software Updates

Apple upgrades the iOS software for the iPad from time to time. Updates include additional functionality as well as security bug fixes. It is important that users apply updates immediately. Before iOS 5 users needed to connect their iPads to a computer in order to update the tablet’s software. Needless to say, this was inconvenient and led to many iPads with obsolete software.

iOS 5 allows updates to occur without the iPad being connected to a computer, allowing users to stay current far easier. We recommend all owners of the iPad and the iPad 2, upgrade to iOS 5 immediately. iOS 5 in fact includes many security fixes.

If you Jailbreak your iPad, you need to be extra careful with regards to security as iOS updates are much more difficult for you. Be careful where you obtain your Jailbroken Apps as malware is much more prevalent.

2. iPad App Security

Apple’s App Store reviews all submissions before adding them. All iPad apps must be authenticated and signed which helps to ensure they haven’t been tampered with or altered. This helps prevent malicious apps from infecting the App Store. Apps are prone to security vulnerabilities, that are fixed by updates. Keep apps updated regularly and remove apps that you do not use. Regularly use the App Store app and select Updates. iOS 7 adds the capability to auto update your apps. Be sure to use this function. Apple has the ability to remotely remove malicious apps from your iPad.

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