Public Wi-Fi has become common in many areas especially in and around cities. You can find public Wi-Fi in your coffee shop, in the malls, in restaurants, airports, and hotels. Thanks to public Wi-Fi, many people can access the internet for free when they are on the go.
Public Wi-Fi Security Risks
You can enjoy a cup of coffee while you go through your social media, browse some articles, stream a movie, or even do some work. Public Wi-Fi, however, does come at a cost. There is a huge risk associated with using network connections like these.
Common dangers of using a public Wi-Fi
Ha**ers obtain your personal and financial information with the intention to use it to commit fraud like making purchases online or unauthorized transactions. When they get into your system, ha**ers can obtain your passwords, credit card information, bank account number, and other personal data. If you own an online business, you risk exposing your corporate database and personal information to ha**ers.
Hac**rs use packet sniffing to intercept your communication and steal your sensitive information. When you are connected to public Wi-Fi, ha**ers eavesdrop on the unsecure network connection and can access data that is being transferred between the devices. When you use unsecured networks, the data is transmitted across an open network giving hac**rs an opportunity to access it.
Using public Wi-Fi makes you an easy target to ha**ers and cybercriminals who want to distribute viruses and malware to unsuspecting users. Scammers and cybercriminals use tricks to get users to download install and run malware into their computers. They are mostly disguised as phishing email attachments, malicious websites, malicious downloads, or advertisements.
How to Deal with Public Wi-Fi Security Risks?
Use a VPN
A virtual private network is the first thing you need to have if you want to keep your personal data safe when hopping onto public Wi-Fi. The purpose of a VPN is to hide your online activities, sort of. When you use a VPN for your computer, it is connected to a server. So, your computer uses the server’s information to browse the internet instead of its own. This way, anyone tracking your user data will see the VPN’s server information instead of your personal information stored on your laptop. Basically, your network information appears to be coming from a different location keeping your personal user information safe.
Use websites with an Encrypted connection
Websites use a standard security technology, known as Secure Socket Layer to establish an encrypted connection between the browser and web server. It secures the data that is shared between you and the website that you are using at that moment. If by any chance, a ha**er intercepts the information shared between your browser and the web server, they will not be able to read it.
How do you know a website has an encrypted connection? Look at the URL of the website. A secure URL should always start with HTTPS instead of HTTP. The s in ‘HTTPS’ represent secure and that is an indication that the site is secure and your data is encrypted. It is also indicated by a lock icon right before the URL. So, to prevent cyber-attacks make sure you use encrypted links when you are on public websites. Make sure you stream from legitimate sites like the Pirate Bay and avoid opening suspicious links.
Use Mobile Hotspot Instead
If you are not doing internet or data-intensive task you can opt for a mobile hotspot connected to your laptop instead. Not only is this a safer option nut it prevents all risks associated with connecting to a public Wi-Fi connection.
A firewall is a form of security designed to monitor traffic and block it based on set security rules. It is a great way to block out unwanted outside access to your personal computer when you are on public Wi-Fi. Firewalls monitor all traffic entering your computer network and investigate the data pockets to determine if it is potentially hazardous or poses a security risk to your network.
They also block out viruses that are attached to your files preventing virus attacks on your computer. Firewalls also stop spyware and malware from getting into your system and prevent authorized entry by ha*ers.