HowTo: Stay Safe Using Public WiFi
For travelers on-the-go, or penny pinchers who like to surf the web for free in public places, there are necessary precautions one must take when accessing sensitive information over a public WiFi connection. For advice on doing this safely, check out Glenn Fleishmann'sguide to staying protecting your private information. Fleishmann outlines how to:
- Get a VPN connection. "A virtual private network (VPN) connection encrypts all the data between a device and a VPN server on the other end."
- Secure your e-mail. "You may already have secured your e-mail. Check your various e-mail clients on computers and mobile devices. Depending on the program, you may need to manually change the port number over which you connect to incoming and outgoing mail."
- Force secure Web browsing. "A VPN is the best alternative, but you can always layer this sort of protection on top of the VPN. Only Firefox (before 4.0) has true integration with an extension that changes the URL path before a connection is made."
- Opt for secure sessions in other services. "Checkboxes to secure services are everywhere, although you may have to hunt for them. For instance, the interaction between a standalone Twitter desktop client and Twitter's interface for retrieving tweets and other data for that user can be secured separately from the always-encrypted login portion. In the client I use, Echofon for Mac, I have to open up preferences, click the Advanced button, and check Use SSL for All Requests."