Cyber Security 101

Lesson 4

Using wifi to surf the web securely and avoid attacks

Welcome to Lesson 4 in cyber security

In Lesson 3 you learnt how to detect weaknesses in your network. In this lesson you’ll learn tips for safe surfing while connected to wifi.

Where you surf the web determines the precautions you should take. Your office and home environment will, hopefully, have security in place, but if you’re in a public wifi space such as a café or library your devices are vulnerable. Here are some safety tips.

In public wifi spots, don’t:

  1. let your devices connect automatically; modern devices should have this option disabled, but it’s better to check. You can turn this option off in the wifi section of your device’s settings.
  2. rely only on your antivirus to pick up suspicious activity.
  3. only have a password: enable two-factor authentication for sites that keep your credit card details such as Takealot and banking sites.
  4. be quick to log on to public wifi: confirm the network name with the café or library you’re in to make sure it’s the right one.

In public wifi spots, do:

  1. purchase a virtual private network (VPN) if you need to use public wifi a lot. A VPN sends your browsing activity through a secure network so that you have freedom and safety at once.
  2. try only to visit encrypted sites if you don’t have access to a VPN. You’ll recognise encrypted sites because they typically have an https and, or, a padlock symbol at the beginning of the web address.
  3. enable your firewall to prevent hackers from gaining access to your system. You can do this on PC via Control Panel<System and Security<Windows Firewall. On Mac it’s System Preferences<Security & Privacy<Firewall.
  4. turn off file sharing from your control panel (PC) or preferences (Mac).

It goes without saying that using public wifi for financial transactions, whether checking your bank balance or making purchases, isn’t safe. If in doubt, use your smartphone as a personal hotspot.

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In Lesson 5 we’ll look at how to protect your home and mobile devices.

Note: This content is general advice and should not be construed as paid-for cyber security advice and instruction.

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