University of Southern California

Using Personal Hotspots

Posted on by mbordas

Many smartphones and cellular modems have the ability to act as personal Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing you to connect laptops and other devices to the internet through a cellular connection. Before activating a personal hotspot, however, you should take care to follow a few simple security precautions.

  1. Make sure your personal hotspot is using the strongest possible encryption settings. Choose WPA2 if available, as it offers the highest level of security.
  2. Choose a strong Wi-Fi password or passphrase, which includes a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols — the longer, the better. A combination of encryption and a strong password can keep nearby browsers from logging on to your connection without your consent and using your bandwidth allowance or, possibly, monitoring your traffic or gaining access to your device.
  3. If you only need to connect one device, consider not using the Wi-Fi feature at all. If your smartphone or modem allows it, tether it directly to your device with a USB or network cable.
  4. Make sure to turn the personal hotspot off when you are finished using it. ¬†Using the personal hotspot feature can also activate your phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; if you do not need to use those features, ensure that they are turned off as well.

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