6 Tips to Keep Your Computer and Data Safe When Using a Wireless Network
Wireless internet access is a great convenience, but it's important to be aware of the risks. Protecting your computer and your information requires some extra steps when you're using a wireless network.
Wireless networks use radio waves to connect your computer with other devices and computers that also have wireless cards installed. This means that they are vulnerable to eavesdroppers—people who can listen in on your communications—and even hackers who want to steal information or damage your data.
Here are 6 tips for protecting yourself:
- Use a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, is a service that encrypts all of your internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in another location. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to intercept your data, since they can only see scrambled code.
- Use a firewall. A firewall is a piece of software that monitors your computer's network activity and blocks any traffic from outside sources.
- Use an anti-virus program. This will scan all files on your computer to make sure they are not infected with any viruses or malware, which can be used to steal information or damage data.
- Use a password manager. This is a program that can store all of your passwords in one place, so you don't have to remember them all. It's also important to make sure that your wireless card is set up properly—and update it as soon as possible if there are any security issues with it.
- Use two-factor authentication on all of your accounts. This means that when someone logs into an account from a new device, they won't be able to access it unless they also enter a code sent to their phone via text message or email.
- Log out of accounts when finished. Leaving account connections open leaves them vulnerable for hacking or malicious behaviors that can lead to damage, loss, theft or misuse of data.
Keep in mind that there are steps you can take to protect your computer and your information. The most important one is to back up your data regularly, so if something happens to your computer there will be copies elsewhere. If you have any reason to think that your computer has been accessed, let your IT team know immediately. For some malicious attacks, knowing sooner rather than later can make a huge difference.