10 Tips to Protect Yourself on Public Wi-Fi

It's relatively easy for the bad guys to trick unsuspecting users into connecting to a dangerous open Wi-Fi, but you can protect yourself.

Use secure public Wi-Fi when possible

Password protected networks with WPA2, WPA or WEP encryption are your most secure option. If that’s not available, your cellular data connection is far more secure than open public Wi-Fi, so you should use your mobile device as your own hotspot. Consider obtaining a local SIM card to access data services at a better rate if roaming charges cost too much.

Be smart about which network you’re connecting to

Ask someone who works at the venue for the name of their Wi-Fi network so you can be sure you’re connecting to a legitimate service, and not a malicious hotspot with a "spoofed" name created by snoops in order to trick you.

Take extra care when paying for Wi-Fi

Avoid paying for Wi-Fi hotspot access, or pay with an electronic option such as PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Wallet to prevent hackers from stealing your credit card information.

Look for the Lock symbol in your browser

The Lock symbol indicates your connection to the website is encrypted, which is an important step in safeguarding the privacy and security of the information you send out to the Internet.


Keep your software up to date

Outdated software contains security vulnerabilities that malware and hackers can exploit. Keep your operating system, web browsers, applications, and security software up to date ("patched") to minimize your risk of being hacked.

Turn off sharing and remote access services on your device

Minimize the ways hackers can gain access to your system by turning off features like file sharing and remote access. Use them only when you’re connected to your trusted home or office network.

Disable automatic Wi-Fi connections

Turn off the feature on your mobile device or laptop that automatically connects to known networks. This reduces the risk of connecting to a malicious network without your consent.

Use a VPN service

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a very simple tool for securing your information with encryption—and then forwarding it to a secure server before it goes out to the Internet. Encryption with a VPN means that even if you join a malicious wireless network, the attackers can’t see or modify your private information.

Use web security when possible

Web security protects you from malicious code that hackers inject into websites (including Wi-Fi captive portals) to steal data, take over your computer, extort you for money, or worse. Sophos Cloud and Sophos Web Gateway are two options for highly secure web interactions.

Make sure your data is encrypted at all times

Use a high-performance, easy-to-use encryption technology to protect the data on your devices as well as your interactions over the Internet. Sophos SafeGuard Encryption and Sophos Mobile Encryption provide simple and secure encryption.

A special note for IT managers and administrators

Make sure you’ve implemented a complete mobile security strategy

You can’t leave your users to fend for themselves. Keep mobile users safe with comprehensive security technology that protects them from hackers and malware when they’re out of the office. Endpoint security, encryption, mobile device management, and web security are all critical components of a modern security strategy to protect your road warriors.


Sophos Cloud

Windows, Mac and mobile, together at last. Manage endpoint security and mobile devices from one unified cloud console.

Safeguard Encryption

SafeGuard Encryption

Complete data protection across multiple platforms and devices; securing your data without slowing you down.

Secure Web Gateway

Secure Web Gateway

Take control of your web traffic and block the latest threats everywhere users go—even when they're not on your network.