From browsing the mobile web from your hotel room, the public library, or your favorite coffee shop to taking advantage of free Wi-Fi when shopping downtown, free 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi hotspots are virtually everywhere. Whether you’re concerned about conserving data or need to stay connected while out and about, connecting to a hotspot may make sense. However, is it safe?
That you’re wondering is a good thing! Awareness of potential risks means you can take action to mitigate them. Data security extends well beyond the walls of your office, making it important to protect all of your devices including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Many mobile users prefer to use Wi-Fi over 4G for two reasons: Wi-Fi tends to be faster and more responsive than 4G and many tasks, such as viewing videos, consume an excessive amount of data which could be subject to limits.
So, given a choice, which type of connection should you use? Which is the safest? Which is the least safe? As with any network security concern, there’s rarely a 100 percent safe choice. However, we suggest using your own provider’s 4G or a private Wi-Fi network over public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Security concerns with Public WiFi
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are by far the least safe choice. There’s no way for the average user to determine if the hotspot has been adequately secured. Data is not necessarily encrypted over a public Wi-Fi, which is why you shouldn’t log into banking sites over public connections.
Even 4G connections have the potential to be hacked, but it appears to be less common and more theoretical at this point. Hackers tend to go for easy targets, and public hotspots are quite easy.
The most secure choice is to use a virtual private network in conjunction with your 4G cellular connection or Wi-Fi. If you do not have a virtual private network, 4G only is safer than Wi-Fi only. Private Wi-Fi is safer than public Wi-Fi.
No matter which way you connect to the Internet from a mobile device, it’s smart to prioritize data security. Other tools in your toolbox should include anti-spam, anti-malware, firewalls, and virtual public networks. Quikteks can help you secure your data both at the office and when working remotely. Contact us today to learn more.