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Surf safely on public Wi-Fi

10 October 2018

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are convenient when you’re on the go but can be risky. Without the right protection, your personal information could become public.

Scammers are known to set up Wi-Fi hotspots so they can steal your passwords, usernames or credit card details. While FBI_Van_123 might sound legit, it's probably not an actual FBI hotspot.

This Stay Smart Online Week, make sure you're careful when using public Wi-Fi, especially when signing into any of your online accounts.

Here are some tips to help keep your information safe when using public Wi-Fi:

  • Confirm the 'official' hotspot name from venue staff and manually connect your device to it. Don’t let your device automatically connect to the first hotspot in its list.
  • Check the privacy and security details before agreeing to the network’s terms of use.
  • Don't do your online banking or shopping, send confidential emails or enter your passwords or credit card details on public Wi-Fi. Wait until you’re using a secure home, office or mobile connection.
  • Use secure websites. Always look for a https (‘s’ stands for secure) in the website address and a padlock on the web browser.
  • Install a reputable Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your device. When enabled, this boosts security by creating an encrypted ‘tunnel’ for your information to pass securely through public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Turn on your firewall and virus scanner. Firewalls are designed to prevent unauthorised access. Be sure to check your device and turn on its firewall (if applicable).
  • Consider using the mobile data on your phone instead.

For more information on how to reverse the threat of cybercrime and stay smart online, please visit www.staysmartonline.gov.au/reversethethreat.