Whether you’re travelling, looking for a café to sit and work in or just craving a somewhat overpriced coffee, Starbucks is always there. They have Wi-Fi, they have myriad power outlets, and they don’t get annoyed if you stay there all day. Starbucks is the university student / freelancer’s spiritual home.
However, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t always the most secure; in fact, you can seriously endanger your online security by using wi-fi hotspots, even in places like Starbucks. Many public wi-fi hotspots are completely unencrypted these days, meaning that your data could be at risk while you’re connected to them. Remember: Nothing is private on open wi-fi, no matter where it is.
But never fear! SurfEasy is here to protect your public wifi security.
1. Look over your Settings and disable sharing.
Mac users will already know that when another Mac is in range on the same network, it’s incredibly easy to access their music and video files through iTunes, and even to play and copy those files–you certainly don’t have to be a hacker, or even to really understand how the situation works to take advantage of it!
However, when your computer is wide open like this and something with more than a rudimentary understanding of file sharing is on the same network, you can really be in trouble. To remedy this, go to your Sharing settings (in System Preferences on Mac OS; in Network and Sharing Center on Windows) and ensure that all your sharing is disabled. You should also turn off “network discovery”, meaning that your computer won’t be shown to others on the network.
2. Ensure that your software is up to date.
Software updates, especially those for your operating system, often patch security issues like the recent Heartbleed bug as well as ensuring that your system runs as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Keep a regular check on the software updates available for your laptop and run these updates before you head out to Starbucks, your university library or anywhere else that you’ll be using a public wi-fi hotspot.
3. Use a VPN.
There’s really no better way than to secure your computer (and your smartphone and tablet) than using a VPN. When you connect to a public wi-fi hotspot using SurfEasy VPN, you can rest safe in the knowledge that your data is protected by a bank-grade encryption and that you are kept totally anonymous on the network. Your IP address, personal details and online activity are all hidden – and since SurfEasy VPN is a no-log VPN, no details about your browsing are kept anywhere.
You can start using SurfEasy VPN for free at surfeasy.com, or buy our paid VPN service to ensure that all your devices are secure for just 4.99 per month. Don’t worry about risking your security at Starbucks ever again!