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Public WiFi networks can be a security risk, and most of us know this is the case, with the least secure WiFi networks being airports, coffee shops and restaurants.
We’ve all heard about 3G/4G, 5G, and WiFi hotspots. The question is how to access the internet while staying safe?
There is no such thing as absolute secure surfing; however, even though you can’t guarantee 100% security, there are several ways you can improve your protection. The first step in improving your internet safety is having at least a rudimentary understanding of the technology involved.
What Is A Mobile Hotspot?
Small, portable devices that provide access to the internet on the go. Two Basic types include:
You can carry a mobile router and connect to a WiFi network via a data SIM card. You pay for the data either on a pay-as-you-go or monthly contract.
You can use your phone as a mobile hotspot and then connect to other devices while travelling, and it only requires a simple setup.
Are Mobile Routers Safe?
Hackers may use a packet sniffer (if using an unencrypted network) to watch what you’re doing online and even obtain your personal information if you haven’t secured your hotspot.
In addition, other unscrupulous individuals will attempt to use your hotspot without your knowledge or consent. Once they have access to your account, they can quickly run up excess data charges unknown to you until you get your bill.
Are Mobile Wifi Routers Secure?
Using a cellular network to send mobile data is more secure than connecting to a public WiFi hotspot. Why? You send and receive data across 5G, 4G LTE, and 4G networks that are encrypted and protected.
Encryption is the way of encoding a message so that only certain people can read it. Encryption scrambles data and unscrambles the information for the receiving party. Plaintext refers to the message contained within an encrypted transmission. It is referred to as ciphertext when it is unreadable.
Encryption scrambles your data using algorithms. The scrambled data is then transferred to the recipient; their device decodes the scrambled data using a key. Without this key, it would take cybercriminals a lifetime to unscramble all the possible permutations.
How to Use Mobile Router Safely-Top Tips
Whether you’re using a portable router or tethering to your smartphone, there are ways to improve the security of your mobile hotspot.
Create a strong password—and change it often
To protect yourself, start by creating a strong password using a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. If you allow others to tether your network using your password, it’s good to rotate your password frequently to prevent unauthorised access. Using a password generator is the simplest and easiest method.
You can search for password generators on Google; they are free and quick to use. However, the passwords they produce are challenging to remember, so you’ll need a foolproof method for storing them. But you can choose an app such as Bitwarden, a free, open-source password manager.
Manage Your Data
Your mobile data plan might be unlimited, but even so, the provider can “throttle” your data. Once you reach your plan’s limit, you will see a noticeable slowing down when using your device. It’s good to know beforehand what happens to your costs if you overrun your data allowance.
Change your SSID
If you can change the name of your mobile hotspot (SSID), you should do so regularly. Because the username and password are pre-generated, if an attacker can access the usernames and passwords for mobile routers, they could access the network. This advice applies to both Apple and Android mobile devices.
Use The Best Available Encryption
You should have encryption enabled on your mobile hotspot by default. Older devices might have an older encryption standard like WEP, which is less safe than WPA2. Your mobile hotspot should be using WPA2 as the encryption type.
Use a VPN
Use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your internet activity by an encrypted tunnel to increase protection. When surfing, a VPN can keep your searches private and secure. VPNs are not free, but they are not expensive if you purchase a one-year contract. Some VPNs will also allow simultaneous connections for the one subscription.