Wi-Fi has become easily accessible from virtually anywhere in the world.
The workplace has evolved outside the confines of office space. You are now able to access the internet at a coffee shop, on the train and even in the park. With the rise in the ease of accessibility of Wi-Fi, it does bring about the concern about security when using public Wi-Fi. Leaving the security of your private network could put you at risk of your information being stolen. Knowing the risks of public Wi-Fi can help you protect yourself while enjoying it’s benefits.
Benefits of Using Free Wi-Fi
Besides being free, Wi-Fi has provided the agility for you to access the internet from anywhere.
Additional reasons for using Wi-Fi are:
Whether you’re a student, freelance worker or employed full time; you would be able to access information on the net from most commercial places such as an airport, coffee shop mall or library. This makes being productive easier and more accessible.
Availability of Access
Cellular networks are dependent on network tower locations and could sometimes lead to inaccessibility to the internet. As long as you are within Wi-Fi range, you would be able to access the net.
The Risks Associated With Using Pubic Wi-Fi?
When you’re accessing your own private network, there are additional measures in place to keep you secure.
Some of the risks associated with using public Wi-Fi are:
Open networks do not require a password, which means that information that passes between your device and the router is not encrypted. Hackers use the same open network and can easily intercept information being passed.
Think digital eavesdropping where hackers are able to view information sent over the network.
Snooping and Sniffing
Hackers are able to buy specific software that will enable them to monitor your online activity. This includes the websites you access, items you upload, and even data your personal online information.
Malicious Or Fake Hot Spots
There are Wi-Fi hot spots that appear to be legitimate but are not. This is to motivate you to connect to them, allowing unauthorized access to your pc and sensitive information.
Any software installed on your pc has its own vulnerabilities which leave it open to viruses or malware. Hackers are able to take advantage of these software weaknesses and use it as a vehicle to install spyware or malware.
How to Protect Yourself from Being Hacked
To prevent the loss of sensitive data, you can take the following steps to protect yourself:
Only Connect At Locations You Trust
Bigger, more well-known locations and companies are likely to be slightly more secure than a smaller unknown place. The fewer places you access free Wi-Fi at, the more limited your exposure.
Connect To Secured Websites
There are two types of website security (visible as a prefix to the website address on the browser); HTTPS and HTTP. HTTPS means that it’s a secure website whereas HTTP is unsecured and people could relatively easily monitor what you’re doing.
Automatic connections to Wi-Fi should be turned off.
Use VPNs (Virtual Private Network) On Public Networks
Using a VPN enables any data transmitted from your device over a public network to be encrypted over a secure server. This restricts the possibility of hackers being able to access your information. VPN can be installed as an application.
Disable File Sharing Option On Your Device
File sharing over a public network is a risk.
Read The Fine-Print
Before signing up for free Wi-Fi, read the terms and conditions. Often Wi-Fi spots ask for your personal contact details in order before you’re granted access to use the Wi-Fi. This information is often shared with third parties who would contact you directly for marketing purposes.
Keep Your Anti-Virus Software Up-To-Date
Ensure your anti-virus programs are up-to-date and that a firewall is installed on your device.
Using free and public Wi-Fi is not only cost-saving but also leads to higher productivity. Take precautions; restrict the amount of information shared over a public network and access only secured sites to prevent possible hacking of your personal information.