How to Secure your Computer When Using a Public Network

Most operating systems come with in-built firewalls and safeguards with their default setting turned on. Yet, there are increasing incidents of hackers obtaining sensitive information of web users. Today most critical activities like bank-to-bank funds transfer, shopping, mail, social networking, etc. are all carried out on public Wi-Fi connections and shared platforms. 

Routers have their in-built firewalls but that doesn’t mean they can protect your information at all times. The data may reach a Wi-Fi hotspot that is not encrypted, which becomes which becomes a hacker’s paradise. But with just a few tweaks and adjustments you can strengthen the firewall and protect your data from potential hackers, as well as harmful viruses, trojans, etc. The first step towards better security is to have a network connection that is password protected. Now you can add some advanced safeguards to improve security.

Add muscle to the Firewall

You can configure your system settings to increase the security level of your firewalls. Other simple precautions to protect your personal and organizational information will also help to safeguard data. These basic measures will add muscle to your PC protector:   

Turning on Firewall: In the system security option under Control Panel, first check whether your Firewall is turned on. It is best not to turn off the Firewall even when you are logging off and will be offline.


Install original anti-virus: Buy original anti-virus and install it on your computer instead of cutting costs and getting a pirated copy from your agent. The original will be automatically updated and protect your PC against new malware. If you have Windows 8, you can get free downloads from Microsoft that provide essential and additional protection for your computer. 

Use unusual passwords: A password with a very unusual combination of alphabets and numbers will be difficult to hack so your personal information remains protected. It should not match any of your personal information like name, place of birth, date of birth, etc. This is especially crucial when you are in the habit of banking online. A really weird netbanking password is safer than a predictable one. But do yourself a favour – don’t forget it!

Being secretive is safer 

When you are part of a Local Area Network (LAN) and are in the habit of sharing hardware, software applications and files across numerous terminals; you can’t be too generous when you are logging onto a Wi-Fi network. So turning off the sharing option when you go public will ensure the safety and confidentiality of your data. All websites don’t necessarily have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption so unauthorized access is relatively easy. When you are logged into the site, a hacker might be able to get into your system and gain access to your personal and company information that are sacrosanct. So being secretive really helps.  

For Windows 8 users, under Control Panel, you can turn off the sharing settings and restrict it to Homegroup so that files are accessible only within the LAN. If you change the default settings under Network Discovery, your terminal will not even show as part of a LAN. You will be working in the stealth-mode at this point. If you are using Mac OS the option System Preferences will take you through the process. 

Some web users opt for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) rather than a more public domain. This does provide a higher level of safeguards for your data by creating a HotSpot Shield when you are online via a public Wi-Fi connection. It is an application that runs in the system as long as you are connected to the Internet to strengthen the firewall. Another precaution that will safeguard your data is shutting off the Wi-Fi connection when not in use. If your modem is connected in idle mode, you never know who might be snooping around just ready to hack into the system and obtain sensitive information.

In the case of a LAN industrial secrets, prototypes and designs, accounts, proposed marketing strategies, etc. need to be protected. In the home environment, your netbanking passwords, email ids, IPINs, online transaction passwords, etc. need extra protection from hackers. So logging out of a website after a transaction and shutting off the modem when not in use provide extra security.

This is a guest post by Lance Goodman of, a site that offers savings and current information on Dish TV. Click here for more info as well as services.

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How to Secure your Computer When Using a Public Network Reviewed by Ethical Hacking on 9:42 AM Rating: 5

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