When considering whether to connect to a public Wi-Fi network at the airport or even a local coffee shop, I have got one piece of advice for you “DON’T.” There is a massive flaw in the WPA2 encryption. Hackers can position themselves between you and the connection point. Don’t allow them to compromise your data by connecting to a public network! That’s exactly why I am considering the Cox Internet Essential package. I want to quit using public networks altogether.
Is Public Wi-Fi Bad?
It may seem like a harmless thing but connecting to a free Wi-Fi puts you at enormous risk. A data Breach Investigation Report says that 89 percent of all cyber-attacks are done for espionage purposes or financial motives. Yes, some hackers do it for recreation. Dozens of online tutorials exist showing how to compromise public Wi-Fi. It’s that common and easy!
The standard technique to launch the attack called “man in the middle.” Via this technique, traffic is intercepted between the device of the user and their destination. The victim’s device thinks that the machine of the hacker is the access point to the Internet. And then, data breaches or malware infestation begins. See how easy it is to hack someone with a public network?
Also Read:- Why You Use a VPN for online security?
Stay Away From Public Wi-Fi. Here Is Why
Okay, so using public Wi-Fi is risky. Man in the middle is not the only attack you are vulnerable to when connecting to a free network. Here are other compelling reasons to stay away from public Wi-Fi:
Attack of the Clones
Hackers divert Internet traffic to a cloned site. This is similar to DNS spoofing where a user is tricked into logging into a site that seems legit. Since you are unaware, you hand over your login credentials willingly.
Infect Other Users
Let’s say you are sitting at a local coffee shop, replying to a work email. You are using malware protection but not your patron. You could be putting your device in danger as well as that of others. If a hacker releases worms, the virus could jump to another device and then another and infect as many devices the hacker wishes to.
Old school hackers exist too. They don’t need to steal your credentials through a public network. They could just look over your shoulder and steal your login info.
Malicious Attacks through Ad Hocs
When a remote worker uses a free network, and their device discovers a new network, they allow the hacker to connect directly to these networks. In case you don’t what ad hoc means, it involves peer-to-peer networks that connect two PCs.
Are All Public Networks Risky?
Sometimes, you have no option but to use a public network. We all have been there. This must have made you question are all networks risky? Not always. You need to know whom to trust. It’s best to stick to well-known networks like that of Starbucks.
Whenever you find yourself in a situation where it’s an absolute must to connect to a wireless network, it’s strongly recommended not to touch your Personally Identifiable Information. This includes banking info, social security number, home address, and other sensitive information.
The rule of thumb is to stick to as few public wireless networks as possible. The more networks you sign up to, the more you are being exposed to risk. To stay safe, follow these tips:
- Never use any type of public Wi-Fi to shop online or check your finances
- If you must connect to a public network, use a VPN
- Set two-factor authentication on all your accounts. This way, if somehow your credentials are compromised, the hacker wouldn’t be able to get inside your account without a code.
- Visit sites with HTTPS encryption
- Turn off the automatic Wi-Fi connectivity feature
- Rely on your own mobile network’s data plan so avoid getting
It’s high time we understand the dangers of public Wi-Fi. I have to travel a lot due to my work. My friend’s organization has provided him with Cox Internet support to share files, sending emails, and stay connected. That’s how he stays away from free public networks. If you need Internet access on the go as well, consider investing in a reliable mobile data plan. This would keep you from troubles, to begin with.
To avoid running into security problems, download videos, and music for offline use. It’s a nice way to stay busy when you are away from home and don’t have mobile data.