PUBLIC WI-FI IS AVAILABLE JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE, FROM COFFEE SHOPS AND BARS TO HOTELS AND AIRPORTS AND EVEN PUBLIC TRANSPORT. WHILST THIS UBIQUITOUS CONNECTIVITY ARGUABLY MAKES LIFE EASIER IT ALSO POSES SECURITY RISKS TO THE PERSONAL INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OUR DEVICES.
One of the biggest threats with “free” Wi-Fi is the ability for hackers to position themselves between you and the connection point. So, instead of talking directly with the hotspot, you end up sending your information to the hacker. The hacker also has access to every piece of information you send out – emails, phone login credentials, credit card information, business data, the list goes on. You’ve basically given them the keys to your kingdom.
With pre-built kits, even minimally skilled hackers can easily eavesdrop and monitor your online traffic to capture valuable information.
If you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely must connect to a public Wi-Fi spot there are additional measures you can use to keep yourself safe:
INSTALL A VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK (VPN) CLIENT ON YOUR DEVICES.
A VPN allows you to create a secure encrypted connection to another network over the Wi-Fi network. This makes it harder for others to snoop on what you’re doing. Whilst a good VPN is not free, they are relatively inexpensive and both quick and easy to use. The peace of mind and additional security is well worth it.
CONFIGURE THE WIRELESS SETTINGS ON YOUR DEVICES TO NOT AUTOMATICALLY CONNECT TO AVAILABLE WI-FI HOTSPOTS.
This ensures that you do not unknowingly connect to public networks. Doing this will prevent your device from broadcasting to the world that it’s trying to connect to a known, trusted network and allow an attacker to spoof that.
AVOID USING UNTRUSTED WI-FI BY TETHERING YOUR LAPTOP TO YOUR MOBILE DEVICE.
With many mobile network providers offering either unlimited data or generous 100GB data limits, using your phone as a hotspot has become an affordable and viable option for working remotely.
These steps are simple, easy and relatively inexpensive and could protect you from cyber-criminals in any public place.