104 PCWorld JUNE 2022
HERE’S HOW 4 WAYS TO STAY SAFE ON PUBLIC WI-FI
a program that captures data packets on their
computer. Exchange unencrypted data with a
website and your sensitive information goes
up for grabs.
Your main goal should be avoiding open
networks that are run by unknown
administrators. You want to pass over
obvious bad apples. Department stores,
hotels, and airports are more sure bets—they
don’t set up their Wi-Fi for the purpose of
spying on the people who use it. (At least,
they don’t do so for the purpose of sussing
out home addresses, credit card info,
national ID numbers, and the like.) Also pay
attention to the spelling of network names—
don’t fall for imposters.
Not sure if you’re
on your location’s
official Wi-Fi? Most
public Wi-Fi run by
immediately ask you
to agree to terms
before allowing you
onto the network,
while savvy small
businesses require a
shared with patrons.
But since anyone
on a network can
sniff its traffic, you
still need other
protections. That’s where the remaining three
tips in this article come in. And remember,
any network accessible by the public counts
as public Wi-Fi, even if you have to pay for
access (like at hotels or airports).
MAKE SURE YOUR
FIREWALL IS ON
Leaving your computer’s TCP and UDP ports
open is somewhat akin to leaving your home’s
external doors unlocked and unmonitored. To
keep safe from intrusion, you want something
that hides those ports from traffic requests—
effectively blocking view of the doors, so no
one can approach and try the doorknobs.
That’s what firewall software does.
You should be able to trust the network administrators of an airport’s Wi-Fi—
but not everyone else on it with you.