If You’re Going to Use Public Wi-Fi Please Make Smart Choices…


June 27, 2019

We live in an very, very connected world. We’re about two shakes away from getting signals beamed directly into our brains. But, since that terrible fate hasn’t caught up to us yet, we’ve got to make do with what we have.
The Internet of Things (IoT) we’ve been enslaved by isn’t without merit. Our devices allow us to do more, talk more, share more, you get the point. But we’re not able to do all of those things without there being some limits. Chiefly amongst those limits are typically things like battery life (or lack thereof) and/or a steady, reliable, and more importantly, safe data connection.

You’re on your own with the battery issue; there’s nothing we can do to help you save some juice (except maybe stop playing Candy Crush at the office, you know who you are). However, we can offer some free advice regarding how to browse the Internet safely on your IoT device.

You see, staying safe on the Internet can be an arduous task. PII data is in high demand, and anything you try and do online, especially on a public Wi-Fi network might be a prime target for somebody who’s looking to pilfer personal info to sell it to the highest bidder.

There are two things you can do easily, right this very moment to help stop that from happening right this very moment.

Step 1 – Check out the app from Cloudflare (iOS or Android)

Cloudflare knows a thing or two about internet safety. We love ’em here at Security7. Honestly, they’re a company we can’t get enough of. Their new(ish) app just continues the tradition of awesomeness. is a public DNS resolver, built by Cloudflare. is designed to keep users data private as they browse the Internet. Keeping data safe in this densely connected world of ours is of paramount importance. can help you do just that.

So most of that must sound like gibberish, so let me explain a little bit about DNS and DNS resolvers.

Think of DNS (or Domain Name System) as the Internet’s phonebook. We may look up websites by domain names, but that’s not really how things are organized. It’s really IP addresses that do all the dirty work, and a DNS is what allows that magic to happen.

Your IoT device can’t translate that information natively though, and each request is made through a DNS recursive resolver that translates the domain name into an IP address and then relays the requested message to your device.

Why does this matter? Well, a lot of ISP providers don’t necessarily secure their DNS services, and that leaves them open to things like data breaches and man-in-the-middle attacks.

On top of that, most ISPs sell the data they collect to advertisers so any time you browse with an unencrypted connection you’re at risk of exposing sensitive data to both your ISP and any bad hombre that’s potentially intercepting it as it passes through the ether above your head. can help you avoid that stress. When is installed, all you have to do is turn it on, and it will automatically encrypt the data entering and leaving your device.

Step 2 – If you’re going to use “FREE” public Wi-Fi at least make sure you use the right one…

Wi-Fi hotspots are a dime a dozen. There are a plethora to choose from. It almost seems like EVERYBODY is broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal (and to be honest, they probably are).

That doesn’t mean they’re all safe…

If you’re in the northeast like we are, and you’re a Comcast Xfinity customer like we are (because come on, who isn’t?), your best bet when you’re out and about and trying to find a stable Wi-Fi connection is to hitch up to one of Comcast’s multiple hotspots.

If you were to open your device and scan the Wi-Fi hotspots available to you you’d see something like this:


You’ll notice there are TWO Xfinity SSIDs available; “XFINITY” and “xfinitywifi” highlighted by a red outline in the picture above.

What’s the difference? Ah, dear reader, I’m happy you asked. “xfinitywifi” is for public use. It’s open to almost anybody, you just need to “sign-in” to it. Comcast says the “xfinitywifi” supports 128-bit encryption at sign-in. That doesn’t necessarily mean its the secure otion. Comcast fully discloses users should be aware that any information they expose while using “xfinitywifi” might be seen by some bad hombre looking to steal sensitive info.

The other SSID, “XFINITY” is a horse of a completely different color. “XFINITY” is Xfinity’s SECURE Wi-Fi connection. It encrypts all the traffic coming in on and leaving your device. All you have to do to access it is install a profile on your IoT gadget (that you can download from here: http://wifi.xfinity.com/#app).

The profile can be installed on your phone, tablet, or laptop computer. However, there is a catch. You do have to be an Xfinity customer to use the “XFINITY” Wi-Fi access point. That said, most of you probably already are, considering how prevalent Comcast is in our neck of the woods. In many cases, they’re the only ISP around.

I personally installed the profile on my phone and laptop last night, and the entire experience was relatively painless. Just as painless as it had been to install a few months ago when that was released.

In Conclusion

I always say the first step to staying safe online is knowledge. If you know what’s out there, it’s easier to avoid it or stop it altogether. Security awareness is important not only for companies but for individuals as well.

The two things we discuss in this article ( from Cloudflare and how to join Xfinity’s secure public hotspot) could very well save you from a massive headache down the road. I mean, what do you have to lose by doing this? is free and if you’re already paying Comcast for your home internet, why not leverage their SECURE Wi-Fi hotspots as well?

Using the two together might be a match made in heaven, at least when it comes to protecting the PII data we’re all so ready and willing to share in this IoT era.

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Carl Keyser is the Content Manager at Integris.

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