WiFi is everywhere, and some connections are more secure than others. There are five ways to ensure more secure use of a mobile WiFi connection:

Turn off WiFi. The most secure WiFi is one that is turned off. Disabling the WiFi signal on your device prevents anyone from seeing your device. If WiFi is turned off, your device will use your carrier’s more secure 3G/4G network for transferring data and will likely count against your data plan.

Forget networks. Auto-connecting to networks isn’t just a pain due to some networks not having internet access, which then disrupts whatever you are doing; auto-connecting is also a security issue. “Forgetting” or un-checking “auto connect” prevents your mobile from randomly connecting to just any available WiFi.

Never pirate WiFi. If you connect to a homeowner’s or small business’ random WiFi network without permission, that is illegal—and the WiFi may even be set up specifically to skim your data as it passes through the network.

Use a VPN. A virtual private network (VPN) uses encryption to protect your data from unauthorized access. You will need to connect to a server or use a service. A VPN server may be available through your workplace, or you can install one at home. A quick search in your mobile application store will result in numerous free and paid VPN client apps. Hotspot Shield VPN is free and fast and supported with advertising. The paid version is under 30 bucks without ads and is even faster. Refer to your device manufacturer or network administrator for more information.

Only use https. “HTTPS,” or hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) with secure sockets layer (SSL, hence the S after “HTTP”), is a more secure option set up by a website owner who knows security is essential. Look for “https://” in the address bar to signify you are on a secure page. Even on an open, unsecured wireless connection, HTTPS is more secure than HTTP.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

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