Finding public Wi-Fi when you’re on the go is so convenient. Whether it’s while sipping a latte in a coffee shop, connecting at the airport, or tapping in somewhere else, jumping on public Wi-Fi is tempting to get some work done. After all, it’s free and a good way to avoid using up your data. But public Wi-Fi comes with some significant risks, which makes it better to avoid public Wi-Fi altogether.
The Risks of Using Public Wi-Fi
Four major risks come with using public Wi-Fi, and they all have to do with the fact that anyone can get on a public Wi-Fi network. Take a look.
This type of attack is exactly as it sounds. If a hacker is physically sitting between you and the Wi-Fi router, they can intercept your communication and relay it to the connection point. This allows them to see everything you are sending, which in turn, allows them to steal sensitive data, such as login credentials and financial information. They can also access information such as delivery times and locations.
Evil Twin Attack
Instead of using an existing public Wi-Fi network, hackers can set up a Wi-Fi hotspot that looks legitimate (i.e., has the name of a nearby business). When you connect to it, any unencrypted information that is passed through it can be intercepted and recorded.
Hackers have access to software that allows them to eavesdrop on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. This lets them view your browser history and steal sensitive information and login credentials.
It is easy for hackers to infect public Wi-Fi connections with malware that will then infect any device that connects to it. They can even hack the router and send fake popups that can trick you into installing software updates that install malware on your device. This malware allows the hacker to steal sensitive data, delete folders and files, and even prevent your device from working properly.
What to Do if You Must Connect to Public Wi-Fi
The best way to void the need to use public Wi-Fi is to invest in an unlimited data plan from your service provider. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for every device, and you may run into a situation where you need to connect to public Wi-Fi. If this happens, here are some tips to help keep you safe:
- Do not use or send any sensitive information over the network.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) if possible.
- Turn off file sharing.
- Enable the “Always Use HTTPS” option when browsing the internet.
- Encrypt all data that is sent to and from your device.
- Create passwords that are long, unique, and difficult to compromise.
- Enable two-factor authentication to access sensitive data.
While technology is advancing rapidly, making securing our networks, applications, and devices easier, cybercriminals also have access to this technology. That means it is easier than ever for them to hack into networks and devices and gain access to sensitive information that would be disastrous in the wrong hands.
Connect with Platinum Technologies today to find out how we can provide you with alternatives to public Wi-Fi or stay safe if you must access it.