The working world is changing, and above all: always on the move. For many, open WLAN networks are therefore a welcome way to stay connected at all times. Business travelers and employees in coworking spaces shimmy from one public WLAN to the next while working on the move – and often expose themselves to unexpected dangers in the process: Open WLAN networks are useful, but they can also be dangerous. We show you how to protect yourself so that important business data remains safe.
Public WLAN poses these risks
Creative as ever and can use open WLAN networks to intercept data, spread malware, or get between your device and the WLAN access points to “eavesdrop” on all communications.
So-called honeypots, i.e., fake hotspots and fake public WLANs, are a particular danger. Like the bee-infested honeypot, they entice users with something irresistible: free WLAN. This makes stealing access data or unnoticed redirects to malware or phishing websites child’s play.
How to protect yourself on the public WLAN: 7 valuable tips
- Be suspicious and cautious
First of all, always assume that public WLAN hotspots are fundamentally insecure.
- Use VPN
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN for short) to make public connections private. Nevertheless, remain cautious, because even a VPN solution does not provide a 100% guarantee in the public WLAN.
- Use SSL connections
An SSL connection (Secure Socket Layer) is an encrypted network connection between a server and a client (browser). These can be easily recognized by the indication in the browser, in the address bar. Make sure that the “Always use HTTPS” option is enabled on websites you visit often or where you need to enter credentials. In most cases, you can find the HTTPS option in the settings.
- Equip your tablet/laptop with mobile Internet
Some devices offer a SIM card slot and thus the option of inserting a normal SIM card – and mobile Internet (ideally with a flat rate) is already available. New devices also offer the option of an eSIM card, i.e., a digital SIM.
- Use your cell phone as a hotspot
If your tablet or laptop doesn’t have a SIM card slot, that’s no problem: Simply connect to the mobile Internet via your cell phone, so Public WLAN is no longer necessary. All you need is a stable Bluetooth connection between your cell phone and tablet, and you’ll automatically share the data volume. A hotspot is, by the way, the safest option besides tip no. 4, but it has a problem: The permanent network and Bluetooth connection consumes a lot of energy and thus a lot of battery.
Do not forget the charger!
- Protect yourself with security software
Make sure your device is equipped with security software (e.g. firewall, antivirus, IPS) from a trusted vendor and perform regular updates – or leave this task to us: with our Managed Endpoint Protection, we protect your endpoints.
- Use the latest operating system and applications
This is not only advisable with regard to Public WLAN, but in general. However, the use of open Wi-Fi networks is definitely one more reason to always make sure that you are using the latest Windows or macOS versions on your laptop, for example, and that the programs are up to date. We recommend our Managed Workplace Service for this.
Even if you implement all of our 7 tips and take any security measures for public WLANs, there will still always be a residual risk. For this reason, you should make sure that your computer has the right security package and that your confidential data is optimally protected even when you are on the road and rely on open WLAN networks. Feel free to contact us, we look forward to hearing from you.