Public Wi-Fi is convenient, but it’s not always secure. Public Wi-Fi networks are inherently insecure. You’re always at risk of being hacked, but the risk increases when you connect to a public network.
Hackers can infect systems and networks with malware, ransomware, or viruses. Hackers can create a honeypot that looks like a legitimate public Wi-Fi network but isn’t. Hackers can intercept data as you send it through the network and view it in plaintext. Hackers might take control of your device remotely using the connections you’ve left open on it.
Public Wi-Fi networks are also more susceptible to attacks because they have many more users than private networks, which makes them easier targets for hackers looking to make quick money by exploiting vulnerabilities in their systems.
Cyber security tips for public Wi-Fi connections
Tip #1: Never log on to sensitive websites when using a public Wi-Fi network. This includes banks and other financial institutions, online shopping sites, and any other sites where you enter personal information. Hackers can see this information as it passes through their computers over the Internet.
Tip #2: Use your own virtual private network (VPN) service if possible. A VPN is a secure connection between your computer and your home network or office network, which protects your identity and personal information from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi networks.
Tip #3: Don’t connect to the first network you see. If the network is unsecured and doesn’t require a password, skip it.
Tip #4: Even if the Wi-Fi you are on is secured, it is still unsafe to do certain activities online like check your bank account balance or send emails that contain sensitive information like your credit card number.
The biggest risk that comes along with public Wi-Fi is the lack of encryption. Encryption is a way for data to be safely transferred from one person or device to another without anyone else being able to read it. Without encryption, anyone on the same network as you can access any unencrypted traffic that you send or receive over the internet.
Another risk is that hackers may set up fake networks in order to trick users into connecting to them instead of their legitimate service providers. There have been reports of fake networks popping up in hotels and airports, asking users for their passwords so they can connect them to the “real” network. These fake networks are known as “man in the middle” attacks, where an attacker intercepts communications between two parties by posing as one party or the other (hence “middle”).
Public Wi-Fi networks are very convenient, but they also can come with many security risks. It is important to be aware of the cyber security risks involved when you are using public Wi-Fi in order to help keep your identity and any personal information safe.
Looking for more information?
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