You check your phone, tablet or laptop and identify a free public WiFi hotspot, jackpot right? Well if you’re overseas or out of mobile data and need internet it may be, giving you a free trip to the internet super highway… but it’s not nearly as safe as you think it is. Regardless of whether the free WiFi requires a password you collect from the counter or you just hit connect, you’re sharing a network with numerous other users and you’re sharing your data as a result.

Whilst sharing a network, you are not protected from other users who are connected to it as well; thus making it possible for others to sniff your data either through crafty efforts or just lax security. Even if you’re just checking your email, let alone taking the risk of checking your internet banking, it’s critical that you take the steps to keep yourself secure every time you connect to a public network.

So what should you do?

1. Avoid the sensitive stuff
Do you really need to do your internet banking over public WiFi, do you really need to buy something and enter your Credit Card over public WiFi? Think about avoiding these things, by doing so you’re keeping your most important accounts/details secure and minimising your risk – granted you should be using HTTPS/SSL.

2. Don’t enable network sharing
When you first access a new WiFi network a Windows computer will ask you what sharing zone you want to be in. Always set it to a public network to ensure that you’ve got network discover and file sharing disabled.

3. Use HTTPS and SSL connections
Where possible, opt for the more secure HTTPS connections. Many websites such as Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, etc will automatically default to turning it on and this helps to avoid others sniffing your traffic. If you’re collecting mail using an application such as Microsoft Outlook, Mac Mail, Thunderbird, etc; in your email settings enable “Use SSL” – this is a good idea for any internet connection.

4. Use a Virus Scanner and Firewall
Turn them on and keep them up to date. A firewall isn’t going to stop everything, but it’s going to do a darn good job of protecting you from some of the basic attack attempts.

These tips aren’t going to cover everything, but they are excellent steps to take to minimise your risk on free public WiFi. Always consider a safety first approach and if it’s something truly sensitive, ask yourself whether it’s something which needs to wait until you’re on a more secure internet connection.

New eBook Launched have published the ebook version of Takeaway – the Sale of the Government Printing Office which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the first Government Asset Sale in New Zealand when on January 24, 1990, the Crown and Graeme Hart of the Rank Group signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement for the Government Printing Office that was to come into effect on January 31, 1990.

The signing of the Sale and Purchase Agreement was the beginning of the end of a poorly conceived sale process that was drawn out over two years. But even following the signing of the agreement it took a further 10 months before the Crown were able to fully complete their obligations which would allow Rank full management of the business. But the Agreement signed on January 24 allowed for the Rank Group to take all the profits of the business even though they had only paid a small deposit and during that time the GPO sales turnover was more than the profit the Government made on the sale of this business asset.

To make matters worse for the Crown, Rank managed to get out of paying any interest on the balance of the money owing when they offered to help finalise issues that the government departments and consultants responsible were having. This amounted to Rank saving a further $1.5 million. Rank also were able to save over $2 million off their original bid for the business following an audit after the sale. The purchase of this Government asset was the springboard that was to launch Rank into the country’s wealthiest investment business that 30 years on is worth more than the national debt reduction the assets sales programme was supposed to achieve.

Takeaway – The sale of The Government Printing Office revisits the GPO in the 1980s of change and looks at what went wrong with the sale process and the effects and aftermath the sale created for the business, that years later triggered a Commission of Inquiry due to the very poor sale result that was less than the cost of the sale process itself and led to a profitable printing, publishing and stationery business being sold for much less than it was worth.

Available now as an ebook.

See also Publishing Page

Supporting Landing Page: Labours Mistakes