Wifi users are at risk from hackers, but unfortunately there are safeguards against them. The recent explosion of free public wifi has become a boon for working professionals. As these free access points are available at public places like hotels, restaurants, airports, bookstores and many other random outlets, where you are more than a short journey away from your network or your workplace. However, this freedom comes at a price, and only few understand the potential risk associated with these connections. In this article, we will learn how to safeguard from public wifi.
What is Public Wifi?
Public Wifi allows you to use the internet for free. It is accessible in many public places like coffee shops, libraries, airports , restaurants, and hotels. Though no Wifi networks is fully risk free, the security of your private data greatly depends upon the type of network you are using.
Why you should not Connect to Public Wifi:
Let’s navigate some of the reasons why we should not connect to the public wifi.
1. Security Risks:
Public Wi-Fi networks are often less secure compared to private networks. Hence ,hackers can easily obstruct the data being transmitted over these networks, and can put your personal information at risk. They can also use various techniques to capture sensitive information like passwords, credit card details, and personal messages.
2. Unencrypted Networks:
Many public Wi-Fi networks lack proper encryption, which means that the data you convey is not adequately protected. Without encryption, your information can be easily blocked by negative performers.
3. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks:
Hackers can use a technique called “man-in-the-middle” attacks to block and revise the communication between your device and the websites you visit. This can lead to unauthorized access to your accounts and then cause theft to your personal information.
4. Fake Hotspots:
Cybercriminals can set up artificial Wi-Fi hotspots with names that resemble fair networks. Moreover, when you unknowingly connect to these fake hotspots, attackers can gain access to your device and data.
5. Lack of Network Isolation:
In public Wi-Fi environments, appliances on the same network can sometimes communicate with each other. Likewise, this opens up the likelihood of attacks where one compromised device can directly target others on the same network.
6. Malware Distribution:
Public Wi-Fi networks are also producing beds for malware distribution. Hackers can infiltrate negative software into your device through these networks, and this leads to potentially compromising your device’s security.
7. Limited Encryption Usage:
Even if a public Wi-Fi network proposes some form of encryption, it might not be adequate to safeguard your data. Weak or outdated encryption techniques can be easily broken down by committed attackers.
8. Data Sniffing:
Cybercriminals can use packet sniffing tools to intercept and analyze the data flowing between your device and the network. This can also include liable information like login credentials and personal messages.
9. Insecure Websites:
When you use public Wi-Fi, you might unknowingly access insecure websites that lack proper encryption. This in turn discloses your data to possible interception and manipulation.
Some public Wi-Fi providers may also keep check on your physical location and browsing activities for advertising purposes or even more vicious intent.
11. Device Vulnerabilities:
Public Wi-Fi networks can influence vulnerabilities in your device’s software and operating system. Hence, without regular updates and patches, your device is more liable to attacks.
12. Untrusted Network Administrators:
The officials of public Wi-Fi networks might not always have the best intentions. They can potentially access your data or track your online activities.
Hence, to avoid the above mentioned steps , it is important to protect yourself when using public Wifi. Below listed are some important information which will help you while using public:
1. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN):
A VPN encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a secure server, and protects your data from potential hackers on the public network.
2 . Avoid Sensitive Transactions:
Avoid logging into sensitive accounts or conducting financial transactions when connected to public Wi-Fi.
3. Turn Off Sharing:
Disable file and printer sharing, and also stop public folder sharing, to prevent unauthorized access to your device.
4. Use Secure Websites (HTTPS):
Stick to websites that use HTTPS encryption. This will help you in ensuring that your data is conveyed securely.
5. Forget the Network:
Once you’re done using a public Wi-Fi network, make sure to disconnect and “forget” the network from your device so it doesn’t automatically connect in the future.
6. Enable Two-Factor Authentication:
Wherever possible, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts to add an extra layer of security. This will safeguard your data.
7. Update Your Device:
Regularly update your device’s operating system and applications to patch security susceptibility.
Though public Wi-Fi networks offer convenience, they come with significant security risks that can compromise your personal data and online security. By taking appropriate precautions and being aware of the risks, you can minimize the chances of falling victim to cyberattacks.