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7 ways truckers can stay safe when using public Wi-Fi

3/18/2021

7 ways truckers can stay safe when using public Wi-Fi

As truckers traverse the nation's highways and byways, they will no doubt need to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots at coffee shops, shipping partners, truck stops and many other places. To do that, however, they must use devices that host all sorts of highly sensitive information, including credit card and personally identifying data as well as login details for countless websites.

How can a trucker stay as safe as possible while leveraging all the right Wi-Fi options they need? Read on to find out:

1) Only use networks that are easily recognizable

You'll likely encounter a whole lot of unlocked Wi-Fi networks you can connect to, but you should only use those for big-name businesses or other entities that are easily recognizable and trustworthy, according to Wired. Generally, those connections will ask you to sign in or agree to terms of service, and that's a great way to help yourself avoid a mishap.

2) Always ensure you're connecting via HTTPS

In your address bar, you may be used to seeing "http://" before the web address you type in, but there's a more secure version denoted by "https://", Wired said. The extra S literally stands for "secure" and will transmit any information you send out with encryption. You can set your browser to automatically use HTTPS on any site for which it's available.

3) Don't enter highly sensitive information

A good rule of thumb on Wi-Fi networks is to only connect to relatively innocuous sites like those for news or entertainment, according to the Federal Trade Commission. For things that require you to log in, and especially things like banking or social media sites, it's better to use your smartphone's 1-to-1 connection to a cellular network.

4) Keep yourself logged out by default

Whenever you connect to a new network and check your social media or other important accounts, you transmit your login details, the FTC cautioned. For that reason, you should not be automatically logged in to these accounts, so that if you idly type "facebook.com" into your browser, you don't accidentally send that login info.

5) Set your devices to ask before joining a network

Along similar lines, you don't want to be inadvertently joining any old network you encounter, the FTC further warned. You can set your devices to ask you before they join any given network, giving you more power over how you connect.

6) Use security software

You should always make sure you are using security software like firewall and antivirus programs on your devices, and also keep them updated to the latest possible versions, according to Global Sign. While these may not totally protect you from the security threats you face during a life on the road, they make it far more difficult for someone to victimize you.

7) Turn on two-factor authentication wherever you can

Finally, you should always enable two-factor authentication for any sites that grant you the ability, Global Sign added. That way, even if you do accidentally transmit your login details, your username and password are only half of the equation needed to log in. You can have a confirmation message sent to your phone or email address, and that alone will foil many hacking attempts.

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