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The Dangers Of Using Public Wi-Fi

We’ve all heard that using public wi-fi is risky even with encryption. Doing your online banking or accessing anything sensitive whilst connected to a public wi-fi can potentially reveal your details to hackers and cyber criminals.

Places like cafés, airports, restaurants, shopping centres and hotels have public wi-fi. It allows you to use the internet for free. It’s so commonly used that people don’t hesitate to connect even though their data might be at risk.

There is limited security when using public wi-fi. Most wi-fi used at home is encrypted, this means that any information sent between any device and the wireless router are scrambled or coded. Hence stopping it from being read by anyone who doesn’t have a password.

Snooping

Wi-fi snooping is when cybercriminals use special devices or kits to help them eavesdrop on wi-fi signals. This can allow attackers to see and access whatever you’re doing online such as any personal details you fill out while visiting a webpage and then even taking over your accounts.

Man-in-the-Middle

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) is another form of eavesdropping used by hackers. Data is sent between a computer and a website. Attackers can interfere with the transmission, allowing them to read it. so, what was once private no longer is.

Malicious Hotspot

Hackers create public wi-fi hotspots to trick people into connecting. You might think it’s a legitimate network but it’s actually a fake hotspot setup by a cybercriminal who can see all your sensitive information.

Malware Distribution

Because of software vulnerabilities there can be holes or weaknesses found in an operating system or software program. This allows hackers to write a code that targets a specific weakness and insert the malware onto the device. That’s why it’s important to keep your computer up to date. Updates consist of important changes that will improve the stability, performance and security of the application that runs on your computer.

Protecting yourself and Staying safe

Other laptops or devices that are connected to the network can be compromised. Selecting the ‘Public Network’ option when connecting to any public wi-fi is good practice. This option ensures that windows isn’t sharing any sensitive files or data with other devices on the same network.

Using a virtual private network (VPN) is the best way to protect your data and stay safe whilst using public wi-fi. We recommend using Nord VPN.

Other good practices

  • Don’t allow your wi-fi to auto-connect to networks
  • Don’t use apps to log into accounts that have sensitive information. Going to the website is better and secure if it uses HTTPS
  • Avoid using networks without password protection
  • Avoid accessing websites that have your personal information, such as healthcare or finance
  • Log out of your accounts when you’re not using them
  • Disable file sharing
  • Have two-factor authentication

We offer network security with our IT Security package, in addition we submit reports on any network security threats – which we’ll resolve quickly and put measures in place to prevent future incidents.

In conclusion make sure your IT Team is equipped to conduct regular security audits!

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