Public Wi-Fi Privacy and Safety

When you connect to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, including Wi-Fi at Toronto Public Library branches, other people might be able to see any information you send or receive over the internet. Take these steps to protect your privacy.

Don't perform sensitive tasks

Wait to perform sensitive tasks like online banking until you have a trusted (non-public) Wi-Fi connection. Always make sure that such tasks are done through secure websites.

To tell if a website is secure:

For more security, you can also install the browser extension HTTPS Everywhere. It encrypts your communications with many major websites. It is available for Firefox, Chrome and Opera desktop/laptop browsers as well as for Firefox for Android.

Keep your device and software up to date

Keep your system up to date. Outdated software often has security vulnerabilities. Updates can provide patches for these vulnerabilities. Check for updates for your:

Use a VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts your web traffic and pushes it through a secure server before routing it out onto the public internet. This means that your initial communications are secure AND it means that trackers and others cannot locate your device.

There are many VPN services, and most of them charge a monthly fee. Read more about VPNs before choosing to use one. VPNs are available for all devices that connect to the Internet.

Turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off when not needed

Turn Wi-Fi off when you’re not online:

The same applies to Bluetooth - if you are not actively using a Bluetooth-connected accessory, turn Bluetooth off.

Turn off network sharing

Turn off network sharing on your laptop or phone. This will stop your device from trying to connect to other local computers, and stop other devices from connecting to you.

Keep your firewall on

Keep your firewall program enabled (ON) at all times.