RVers often look for and use public WiFi hotspots at RV parks, travel plazas and rest areas. But public hotspots are open and unencrypted so by nature are insecure. Information you transmit via your laptop or smartphone, may very well fall into the wrong hands. There are ways to stay safe, however. They are:
- Set your Wi-Fi device to disallow automatic connection to opens networks. By doing so, will always know when you’re connecting to an open Wi-Fi hotspot. Auto-configuration is most popular on smart phones but many laptops are configured that way by default.
- When using a public hotspot make sure you disable sharing. If there’s a storage device or other computers on your home network, you may have sharing enabled on your laptop.
- If you’re conducting business or sharing sensitive information, it’s best to use a virtual private network (VPN), which creates an encrypted, private link across a public network.
- Use a personal firewall, either the one that came with your Mac or Windows PC, or a third-party app from a reputable security vendor. Firewalls come with a range of configurations. At a minimum, you will want to know when another computer is attempting to gain access to your system.
- When paying bills and shopping online using a hotspot, it’s best if the hotspot has WPA2 security. At the least make sure the website has a secure connection. A site is securer if there is an ‘https’ in your browser’s web address bar.