Regularly keep updating Anti-Virus Software:
Its a good practise to keep your anti virus software updated with latest updates. Always running up-to-date anti-virus software can help provide the first alert if your system has been compromised while connected to an unsecured network. An alert will be displayed if any known viruses are loaded onto your PC or if there’s any suspicious behavior, such as modifications to registry files. While running anti-virus software might not catch all unauthorized activity, it’s a great way to protect against most attacks.
Always Turn on you Firewall:
Its a good practise to keep your firewall to make work, ie it should be kept on always, it helps you in protecting your computer. Most OS’s include a built-in firewall, which monitors incoming and outgoing connections. A firewall won’t provide complete protection, but it’s a setting that should always be enabled. On a Windows notebook, locate your firewall settings in the Control Panel under System And Security. Click on Windows Firewall, then click Turn Windows Firewall On or Off. Enter your administrator password, then verify that the Windows Firewall is on. These settings are in System Preferences, then Security & Privacy on a Mac. Navigate to the Firewall tab and click Turn On Firewall. If these settings are grayed out, click the padlock icon in the lower left, enter your password, then follow these steps again.
Protect your passwords:
Using unique passwords for different accounts can help if one of your accounts is compromised. Keeping track of multiple secure passwords can be tricky, so using a password manager such as KeePass or LastPass can help keep you safe and secure. Both KeePass and LastPass are free, but they store your information in different ways. KeePass keeps an encrypted database file on your computer, while LastPass stores your credentials in the cloud. There are pros and cons to each approach, but both services are completely secure.
Confirm the network name:
Sometimes hackers will set up a fake Wi-Fi network to attract unwitting public Wi-Fi users. The Starbucks public Wi-Fi network might not be named “Free Starbucks Wi-Fi.” Connecting to a fake network could put your device into the hands of a malicious ne’er-do-well. If you’re not sure if you’re connecting to the official network, ask. If you’re in a café or coffee shop, employees will know the name of the official network and help you get connected. If there’s no one around to ask, you may want to move to a different location where you can be sure that the Wi-Fi network isn’t fake.
Use two-factor authentication:
Two-factor authentication means you need two pieces of information to log into an account: One is something you know and the other is something you have. Most often this takes the form of a password and a code sent to your cellphone.
Many popular websites and services support two-factor authentication. This means that even if someone is able to get your password due to a hole in a public Wi-Fi network, they won’t be able to log into your account.
To enable this feature for Gmail, log into your account and open the settings page. Navigate to the Accounts And Import tab and click Other Google Account Settings. The second section will be two-step verification, and you can click Settings to start.
First, enter your phone number and choose whether you’d like a text message or a phone call. Next, Google will send a six-digit code to your phone. Enter this when prompted. Now, whenever you log into Google from a new computer, you’ll be asked to verify your identity by entering both pieces of info.
The login process will now take a few extra seconds when you use a different device, but you can rest peacefully knowing that your account is safe and secure.
Turn off sharing:
If you use a laptop, you might have it set to share files and folders with other computers at work or home. You don’t want these settings on when you’re using a public network. Windows Vista, 7 and 8, make it simple to automate your sharing settings. When connecting to a public hotspot for the first time, Windows asks for a location type. Make sure you set it to “public.” This will automatically modify sharing settings for maximum safety.
On a Mac, go to System Preferences>>Sharing and make sure all the sharing boxes are unchecked. You’ll have to turn on the controls again when you want to file share on your home or work network. Don’t automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks. It’s handy when your smartphone, tablet and laptop automatically connect to your home and work networks, but that can lead to trouble when you’re out and about. Hackers often give their rogue hotspots generic names such as Coffee Shop, Linksys or AT&T Wireless. You want to be certain you are connecting to the router of the business.
Tweak your gadgets’ settings so you have to manually join networks in public. Then verify with a store employee that you are connecting to the correct network.
You might think that an establishment with password-protected Wi-Fi is safer, but that’s not the case. Passwords are good for keeping people out of your home network, but for public networks, anyone can join. Once a hacker is on, your gadgets are accessible.
Regular websites transfer content in plain text, making it an easy target for anyone who has hacked into your network connection. Many websites use HTTPS to encrypt the transfer data, but you shouldn’t rely on the website or Web service to keep you protected.
You can create this encrypted connection with the browser extension HTTPS Everywhere. With this plugin enabled, almost all website connections are secured with HTTPS, ensuring that any data transfer is safe from prying eyes.
Get a VPN
The most secure way to browse on a public network is to use a virtual private network. A VPN routes your traffic through a secure network even on public Wi-Fi, giving you all the perks of your private network while still having the freedom of public Wi-Fi.
While free VPN services exist, a paid VPN service guarantees the connection’s integrity. If you regularly connect to unknown networks, setting up a VPN is smart to protect your personal information.
One VPN provider is Private Internet Access, which costs $6.95 monthly and allows for unlimited bandwidth and multiple exit points, which will let you choose which country your network traffic is routed through.