Wireless hotspots are changing the way people work. These wireless local area networks (LANs) provide high speed Internet connection in public locations—as well as at home—and need nothing more than a mobile PC such as a laptop or notebook computer equipped with a wireless card.

In fact, hotspots are an everyday connection method for travelers and remote workers to browse the Internet, check their email, and even work on their corporate networks while away from the office.Hotspots range from paid services to public, free connections. Hot spots are everywhere, including:

Coffee shops
Hotel lobbies

But they all have one thing in common—they are all open networks that are vulnerable to security breaches. And that means it’s up to you to protect the data on your PC. Below we cover a few tips to make working in public locations more secure.

1.Try to choose more secure connections
It’s not always possible to choose your connection type—but when you can, opt for
wireless networks that require a network security key or have some other form of
security, such as a certificate. The information sent over these networks is encrypted, which can help protect your computer from unauthorized access. The security features of different networks appear along with the network name as your PC discovers them.

2.Make sure your firewall is activated
A firewall helps protect your mobile PC by preventing unauthorized users from gaining access to your computer through the Internet or a network. It acts as a barrier that checks all incoming information, and then either blocks the information or allows it to come through. All Microsoft Windows operating systems come with a firewall, and you can make sure it’s turned on.

3.Monitor your access points
Chances are that there are multiple wireless networks anywhere you’re trying to
connect. These connections are all access points, because they link into the wired
system that gives you Internet access. So how do you make sure you’re connecting to the right one? Simple—by configuring your PC to let you approve access points before you connect.

4.Disable file and printer sharing
File and printer sharing is a feature that enables other computers on a network to
access resources on your computer. When you are using your mobile PC in a hotspot, it’s best to disable file and printer sharing—when it’s enabled, it leaves your computer vulnerable to hackers. Remember, though, to turn this feature back on when you return to the office.

5.Make your folders private
When the folders on your mobile PC are private, it’s more difficult for hackers to
access your files.

6.Encrypt your files
You can protect your files further by encrypting them, which requires a password to
open or modify them. Because you must perform this procedure on one file at a time,
consider password-protecting only the files that you plan to use while working in a
public place.

7.Consider completely removing sensitive data from your notebook PC
If you’re working with extremely sensitive data, it might be worth taking it off your notebook PC altogether. Instead, save it on a corporate network share and access it only when necessary. This way, you have multiple safeguards in place.

Author: Oludotun Babayemi

I work on for profit or not - for - profit projects as a Project Planner, Grant Writer and Information Manager.11 years ago, I started Cloneshouse Nigeria, 10 years ago, I started Follow The Money, with a Colleague in 2012, a citizen-led movement that promotes social accountability in rural communities, which a year after, got registered legally as Connected Development [CODE]. In the past 7 years, I have evaluated projects on Water, Power, Education, Health, Disaster Risk in Nigeria, and West Africa countries with the United Nations and the Japan International Corporation Agency. Education and Fellowships include Stanford University, USA; Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; School of Data, Open Knowledge International, UK; USAID - Crisismappers. I Tweet @dotunbabayemi and am an email away at

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