Using public Wi-Fi? Be aware of these dangers!
For many people without unlimited data plans, or plans that slow internet speed after hitting data limits, public Wi-Fi hotspots are a great alternative.
Unfortunately, public Wi-Fi hotspots are not the perfect solution for the data hungry that they appear to be.
In fact, they can be downright dangerous.
Here are three ways in which public Wi-Fi hotspots can jeopardize your security and personal information.
The middle man
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are available almost anywhere you go. At restaurants, libraries, hotels, bookstores, and many other places, these hotspots are intended for customer use as a courtesy.
Unfortunately, because anyone can connect to these hotspots, hackers will often use them to gain access to your personal information.
One such scheme is the middle man.
In this dangerous scenario, a ahacker sets up this or her own network between you and the Wi-Fi hotspot. This means that all of the information available on your device becomes available to the hacker.
Regardless of whether you are using an encrypted site or not, all of your information is now in the hands of a malicious criminal. They can then use your information, including your banking information and any credit card information used during the Wi-Fi session.
One of the most dangerous things that your device can be subjected to when using public Wi-Fi is malicious software.
Malicious software, or malware, can compromise your security in any number of ways.
Keylogging is a very common form of malware. A keylogging program records every key you press, which can allow hacking into your personal and financial accounts. Another form of malware allows total access and control of your infected device to the hacker.
The hacker can then access everything stored on your device. The hacker, compromising your security even more, can turn on your camera and microphone remotely.
Fake Wi-Fi hotspots
The easiest way for any hacker to gain access to devices is by creating a fake public Wi-Fi hotspot.
For example, a hacker will set up a hotspot with a name similar to a business that offers free Wi-Fi. Many users will connect to the fake hotspot where a hacker can then load malware or become a middle man, stealing precious personal information.
How to protect yourself
Ideally, you should never use public WiFi. It is much safer to tether devices, such as tablets and laptops, to your phone.
If you are going to use public Wi-Fi hotspots, you need to protect your devices, thereby safeguarding your information. Make sure your anti-virus software is active and up-to-date. Usse a firewall, and then follow these steps. First, before connecting to any public hotspot, ensure you are using the free Wi-Fi provided by the business. Ask an employee for the hotspot name and use only the one the employee has verified.
Next, use public Wi-Fi for surfing the web only. Never use public Wi-Fi to access banking institutions or for online shopping. Lastly, once disconnected from the free Wi-Fi, run a virus scan.