If you own a laptop with a built in wireless connectivity feature it means that you can access the internet using wireless networks in hundreds of public places such as hotels, train stations, airports, coffee shops and even the beach. However when connecting your laptop to these Wifi or wireless networks, what security precautions should you be taking?
While you are using a public wireless network try to avoid typing in any sensitive information like credit card numbers, security numbers or passwords and wait until you are back on a secure network before using them.
Criminals can hack into wireless systems, so if you cannot avoid putting in your sensitive information be sure to either look for a small padlock symbol at the bottom of the browser window or make certain that the websites begin with https: which means that it is secure enough to use.
If you are away from your laptop, or doing tasks on it that do not involve logging onto the internet, always make sure that your wireless network is turned off, or if using a WiFi external card make sure you remove it. There is no need to be connected to the public wireless network and you are increasing the risks for criminals to hack into your laptop.
If there are important files on your computer make sure that they are hidden either with special security tools to encrypt and protect your information. Alternatively do not keep the files on your laptop at all while working on a wireless network and instead store them on a backup device such as a memory stick or disc until you are finished.
Using a public wireless network also increases the risk of a criminal sending viruses to your laptop so its is very important to have a good firewall or virus software to immediately block out anything unusual, or to alert you when something seems suspicious.