7 Ways Students Can Protect Their Data on Public Networks

Public Wi-Fi networks are available almost everywhere, from cafes to airports. Although they are convenient, they also come with potential dangers. How do you know if anyone is spying on what you’re doing, what sites you’re connecting to, and what data you’re inputting? The bottom line everyone using online services should know – don’t share any sensitive information that can harm you if stolen on a public network. If you want to know more, read this guide for the details on how to avoid fraud and protect yourself.

students protect their data
Photo by Franck on Unsplash

Public Wi-Fi Risks

What makes public networks accessible also makes them dangerous. Basically, anyone can access certain data and steal your information if you’re not careful. If you Google “write papers” and proceed with payment using public Wi-Fi, your sensitive information can be stolen. Such networks are not secure and leave you and your information publicly available.

The risks include:

  • Hackers join the same Wi-Fi to access data on people using it;
  • Criminals interfering with payment operations to steal banking account information (MITM);
  • Hackers can also send malicious files to your devices if you have a file-sharing feature turned on;
  • Criminals can create fake networks to gain access to personal information;
  • With fake Wi-Fi, hackers can send false update messages so that users download malicious software.
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Even if you’ve never experienced data leakage or breaches, it doesn’t mean you need to treat such risks carelessly.

How to Protect Your Data

Here are some tips and tricks on protecting your data and making your laptop or phone more secure when accessing unprotected networks.

Always Update Your Software

The first tip is to keep your operating systems and antivirus software up to date. Do not postpone those updates, as this might result in losing data.

If you do not have antivirus software yet, invest in it. This is an essential part of cybersecurity. As students do a lot of online surfing, it is a must. Regularly run health checks for your device.

Turn Off File Sharing

Before logging into public Wi-Fi, turn off the file-sharing feature. You won’t be able to share files with your friends or relatives. But this will protect you from malicious files sent by hackers.

You can do it manually by creating settings for public and private networks that will be applied automatically. This depends on the type and model of your device.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Enable two-factor authentication for all important accounts, especially those that have to do with sensitive information. Yes, it takes a second longer to log in. But this is one of the best ways to guard your data from malicious use.

two factors authentication
Photo by Sten Ritterfeld on Unsplash


A virtual private network (VPN) is another amazing way to secure your internet usage. Overall, it is recommended to use VPN all the time if you want to protect your information. There are plenty of apps out there that work excellently. Some of them are free, but the best ones are paid for. However, they are usually pretty affordable and come with a variety of useful functions.

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VPN services encrypt your internet activity, so no one can see it. All of your traffic is private with VPN. Another great function is that it can disguise your IP as if you are browsing from another country. This gives access to various content that is location-restricted.

Avoid Unsafe Websites

It is always better to stick to a secure platform. How could a student know whether the site is secure? The main thing to look for is HTTP or HTTPS protocol. Sites that come with “HTTP” in the address use SSL encryption, which makes them secure for visitors.

Turn Off Auto-Connect Feature

If your device automatically connects to available networks, it can connect to a fake Wi-Fi created by hackers. Although this feature is convenient, do not use it when there might be unprotected WI-Fi around. It is better to manually log into them. And always check what Wi-Fi you are accessing and whether it is the right one.

If there are protected networks available (those with passwords and terms and conditions), opt for them. So whether you are researching for best write my essay services or watching YouTube, your personal information is safe.

Turn Off Your Bluetooth

It is crucial to exercise caution and refrain from enabling Bluetooth functionality on your device when it is not actively required. Apart from conserving battery life, this practice serves as a vital precautionary measure to safeguard your device and personal data. Bluetooth technology provides an array of opportunities for diverse devices to establish connections, enhancing convenience and facilitating seamless communication. However, it is essential to acknowledge that enabling Bluetooth unnecessarily exposes your gadget to potential risks such as unauthorized file sharing or unintended connectivity. By exercising prudence and disabling Bluetooth when not in use, you fortify your device’s security and minimize the likelihood of compromising your sensitive information or falling victim to cyber threats.

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In Summary

Cybersecurity should not be treated lightly. Since the information you possess and share can give other people the power to harm you, you need to be careful of what you’re sharing at all times. Public Wi-Fi networks pose a lot of risks that can be avoided with several simple actions. Follow these tips to make sure your data is protected.

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