Online security is a hot topic right now, with the amount of cyber crime becoming an everyday reality for anybody that uses the internet. Not only are large businesses targeted but now fraudsters are coming up with new ways to try and trick their way into taking money from people.

There are so many different types of online scams that criminals are using like phishing scams, malware attacks, identity theft and many more. So it is more important than ever to make sure that you know how to keep yourself protected online.

Using mobile phones for internet browsing has become the most popular form of accessing the web and people expect to be able to get onto the internet whenever they choose to. When people are away from their home WiFi network and they have limited data allowance, they will often seek to find any available public WiFi connections. When on trips abroad, hotels provide a shared guest WiFi account and cafes and bars offer free WiFi as a big marketing technique. Public WiFi is seen by many as a great way to use data for free but as with most things that are free, there is always a catch.

Probably the biggest catch with public WiFi is the security aspect of using it. As well as being open for anybody to use, you have the added danger of fraudsters setting up fake WiFi hotspots to enable them to access your information.

You could be surprised at just how common this actually is. They set up WiFi names that sound like they belong to a business, as they just name their hotspot around the business they are pretending to be. So you could be sat in ABC Café and a WiFi connection pops up for ABC Café_free, you think you’ve found the perfect solution to getting free data but it could cost you lots more than your network’s data charge. If they gain access to your account information they could do some serious financial damage. Even genuine public WiFi networks pose a risk, as some don’t have high levels of protection for its users.

There are a number of different tips on how to avoid putting yourself at risk of cyber criminals when using WiFi hotspots. Staying anonymous when online is the best way to do this. One piece of advice is to avoid using social media and if you do then you should at least use privacy settings and don’t reveal any personal info.

However, if staying away from social media sounds like a last resort, then fortunately there are other solutions available. VPNs (virtual private networks) have been around for some time but now that people are becoming more alert to online security risks, they are becoming a more popular option for online security.

A VPN is essentially a ‘tunnel’ that provides an encrypted connection to make it really difficult for hackers to get to your information. It is really easy to get a VPN and some providers even offer a free version, although for the best security services, you will want to look at some of the top VPN providers in the market. You generally get what you pay for and when it comes down to online security you can’t afford to cut corners.

You might only hear about cyber crime when there are news headlines where they are targeting large companies but when you look at the stats, more and more individuals are being targeted. Even Smart TVs are being targeted for ransomware attacks, so it is time to beef up your online security before it is too late.

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