While the older generations might be slow to adjust to the new world order, most of us could not imagine reality without both public and private wi-fi. It affects every area of our lives: our work, entertainment, and the way we socialize with others.

Of course, we have to take the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes with the internet. Fortunately, there’s a lot more good. An interconnected world is much more efficient: you can find travel tickets, study material, work contacts – all with a blink of an eye.

However, just because the web makes our life that much more convenient, it’s not a safe haven. Because of this everyone should learn at least the basics about the dangers of hackers, cybercriminals, and other threats that can quickly turn your life into a nightmare. Even if you only visit the most popular, secure websites, you’ll still encounter a fair share of scammers and viruses.

These possible encounters usually happen because of overreliance on a publicly available Wi-Fi connection. Because everyone appreciates an abundance of these networks, nobody pays attention to potential dangers and traps that can exploit gullible users.

Thankfully, there are ways to protect your privacy and security, even on public Wi-Fi. Some web surfers use a browser proxy, VPN, and other tools that complement online security. However, without basic knowledge about these networks, you still might give up too much information that cybercriminals could exploit. Click here if you are interested in the technical side of proxies, but in this article, we will discuss what everyone should know before connecting to public Wi-Fi.

Your data is not safe on a public wi-fi network

It’s understandable why so many internet users choose to work in public areas. Changing up the environment can be a great way to boost your productivity, avoid the afternoon slump, and create the perfect amount of discomfort to keep yourself in line. However, such a great plan can quickly backfire if you do not make proactive decisions to protect yourself on the internet.

Of course, not everyone works with sensitive information that could cause trouble once available to unauthorized third parties. But people expose their personal data by connecting to their social media platforms and bank accounts. This way, internet users that use unknown public networks become potential victims of data thefts.

Thankfully, the safety of Wi-Fi networks is not as bad as it used to be, thanks to transport layer security (TLS). This is a cryptographic protocol that encrypts your data packets on the way to a chosen web server. However, even if it makes our Wi-Fi networks more private, overall protection is far from perfect. Internet users that like to work in public areas usually handle sensitive PDF documents, bank statements, and other files that do not fall under the umbrella of TLS protection.

Even if you believe that the chance of these crimes is very unlikely, you should never risk your livelihood for the most convenient Wi-Fi connection. Experienced freelancers only use legitimate networks by known third parties to keep the most dangerous criminals at bay.

Understanding these dangers will help you avoid most traps. So be sure to use only the best tools and connections at your disposal and always read the privacy policy of a chosen network.

You’re still giving up a lot of data

Like every other third party offering a free service, Wi-Fi network providers generate income by giving up your data to marketers that generate personalized ads we all love to hate.

Although it may not be a threat to your sensitive data, it is certainly an invasion of privacy that creates an uncomfortable browsing experience. Even if you use a browser proxy to limit location tracking and reduce your digital footprint, advertisers will still have ways to recognize you by the data collected from your provider.

Even if most internet users do not appreciate invasive and even provocative marketing, the average web surfer will rarely do anything about it. That’s a shame because not every Wi-Fi provider wants to undermine your privacy. While trying to make a living, third parties will choose such default settings that maximize user data extraction. However, you can still discover ways to opt out of most of them if you pay attention to privacy policy settings.

Staying aware and making proactive decisions will help you maximize your safety and anonymity on public Wi-Fi networks.

If it weren’t for the abundance of possible internet connections in public places, the internet would not be one of the most revolutionary inventions we know and love today. Now we just need to bypass possible privacy and security threats to continue reaping the benefits of this wonderful invention. There are a lot of tools to tackle these dangers – from browser proxy to VPNs. Be sure to protect yourself and never take the internet for granted!