Packet sniffing is a common type of cyber threat that, when left unchecked, can lead to data breaches. When browsing the internet, you’ll exchange data with other websites or web apps. You’ll send data to these websites in the form of packets. Packet sniffing involves the interception of these packets. A hacker may intercept your packets while capturing your data. Below are five tips to prevent packet sniffing.

#1) Use a Password-Protected Wi-Fi Network

Avoid using a public Wi-Fi network that’s available for anyone to access. Instead, use a private Wi-Fi network that requires a password. Public Wi-Fi networks are more susceptible to packet sniffing than their password-protected counterparts. A hacker may eavesdrop on the traffic of a public Wi-Fi network while simultaneously capturing the data of the network’s users.

#2) Only Visit HTTPS Websites

To lower your risk of becoming a packet sniffing victim, only visit Hypertext Markup Language Secure (HTTPS) websites. All websites use either this protocol or the older HTTP protocol. HTTPS is a secure protocol that includes encryption. You’ll still exchange data with HTTPS websites, but the data within your packets will be encrypted. You can distinguish between HTTPS and HTTP sites by looking at the address.

#3) Use a VPN

You can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to prevent packet sniffing. VPNs are programs that provide an encrypted tunnel for web traffic. You can connect to a VPN, after which you can browse the internet and engage with websites. The VPN will encrypt your traffic so that the contents of your packets can be intercepted by third parties.

#4) Install Antivirus Software

Don’t underestimate the importance of antivirus software. While all data sniffing attacks involve the interception of packets, they can be performed in different ways. Some data sniffing attacks are performed remotely, whereas others are performed locally via malware. If your computer is infected with malware — it doesn’t have to necessarily be a virus — it may result in a packet sniffing attack.

#5) Beware of Links

Another tip to prevent packet sniffing is to beware of links. There’s nothing wrong with clicking links. Links, of course, allow you to move from one website to another site. But there are some malicious links out there. Clicking a malicious link may lead to a malware infection that leaves you susceptible to packet sniffing. To prevent packet sniffing, use a password-protected Wi-Fi network, only visit HTTPS websites, use a VPN, install antivirus software and beware of links.