Editor's note: This article is part of a special HLN series, "State of the Web," examining the threats to your privacy online and how to protect yourself and your family.
How safe are you and your kids online? For the next week HLN's Jennifer Westhoven will be looking for ways to improve your digital safety. Today: How safe is public WiFi?
There are millions of hotspots are out there -- at coffee shops, airports, stores, even your local car wash may offer free WiFi access. And for those of us who have devices that can use those signals to access the web, it can be hard to know which are safe and which can expose our data to others using the same network.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your chances of logging in and and logging out without putting everything in your laptop or tablet on display:
Free is not always better when it comes to WiFi. An unsecured wireless network is riskier than one you have to pay to access.
Avoid looking at confidential material like corporate emails, legal documents, and online banking while using public WiFi.
If you just have to log on to a free WiFi network, keep your browsing light. Surf the web or play games rather than writing sensitive emails or accessing your brokerage account.
While surfing the web using a free WiFi hotspot, look for URLs that begin with https, rather than just http. The 's' in web addresses that start with 'https' stands for secure and using a secure site will increase your level of safety.