Can you Stay Safe Using Wi-Fi?

Friday, February 24, 2012, 9:42 AM


I'm a dying breed. This President's Day while shopping, I considered upgrading to a smartphone, but chose not to. I may be one of the last who still uses a standard cell phone. We, who choose to remain smartphone-free, do not have to deal with issues such as expensive data plans or malware or rogue apps or cell phone hackers.

For the majority of the population, the concept of getting hacked is becoming a bigger issue. Hackers target smartphones because they're everywhere. Hackers can potentially invade your device and steal your personal data.

In this world of smartphones and Wi-Fi hot spots, how do you protect your device from hackers?

Here are 5 practical tips.


  • Use good judgment: Simple right? You can never be too safe while using open Internet connections. As you browse, be cautious as to what you click on.
    If something seems too good to be true, it is. If an ad seems suspicious, don't click on it. This is Internet browsing 101.
  • Create strong passwords: Most frequently-accessed websites require a username and password. As you create these passwords, make them difficult to second-guess. You don't want even a family member or close friend to guess what they are. Most people use birthdays, street addresses, or phone numbers to create these passwords. That kind of information is easily hacked. A good password uses special characters, numbers and letters, and even capitalization. Be creative.
  • Be a multiple password user: Once you have a strong password, create more! The tendency to use the same password for all websites is common. If hackers ever got that password, they'd have access to everything.
  • Go to popular, respected websites: Only use respectable websites with a good reputation. They will have better protection against hidden viruses and malware. Consider installing an Internet filter, such as Net Nanny, that will block potentially harmful websites.
  • Don't use open access Wi-Fi hotspots: As enticing as free Internet may be, think twice before using it. Hackers lurk around free hotspots waiting to invade. Consider postponing your sensitive online activities such as banking until a secure internet connection is available.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.