The internet is now a necessity in our day-to-day lives since we live in a technologically driven environment. Tech giants from all over the world have spent billions of dollars to create a network of gadgets that encourages you to take advantage of their usability and accessibility via the internet. Globally, the use of heavy bandwidth and data has sharply increased as a result, prompting individuals to invest in broadband and fibre connections that provide robust reliability at more reasonable prices. However, you cannot take your home Wi-Fi with you when you go outside the next time.
As a consequence, you start to yearn for those delicious unlimited data packs while avoiding paying the ostensibly high rates of your restricted mobile data plans. As a result, you give in to your desires and use a free public Wi-Fi hotspot in the area, which might put your system in danger of cyber-attacks. But here’s why using that Wi-Fi toggle may end up costing you far more than you anticipated.
Public Wi-Fi may be accessible in a variety of places, including your local fast-food restaurant and transportation hubs like the airport or train station. Even while some locations advertise ‘Free Wi-Fi,’ the price of browsing your social media on these networks may be your privacy. Attackers and hackers frequently utilise public Wi-Fi hotspots as a hunting ground. They can connect to the same open Wi-Fi network you are using and take vital private information that could cause immediate difficulties in the future. Utilising the phishing warning system on your phone might help you stop them to some extent.
Read More- How to Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers
Risks associated with cyber security when utilising a public Wi-Fi hotspot include:
Man, in the middle attacks
‘Man, in the Middle attacks’ is one of the most prevalent types of these assaults. By stealing the data between your device and the internet server, an attacker may eavesdrop on talks between those two points. The most concerning feature of these attacks is that they are invisible to the untrained eye and can be fatal to your bank account credentials or even private log-in information.
Attacks that Disseminate Malware
Another significant attack that frequently occurs in these situations is a virus or malware distribution attack, where a hacker can introduce a backdoor to the operating system of your computer or phone and can activate it whenever he or she pleases, opening up every single string of personal data on your device to theft or misuse. This is more dangerous than a ‘man in the middle’ assault because, after injecting the virus into your device, the hacker may utilise this backdoor to steal sensitive data even if you are not linked to the similar public Wi-Fi network.
Attackers can also use these public Wi-Fi hotspots for stalking, using specialised tools and software to monitor every website you visit while inside the confines of your device. Nearly all public hotspots are still unencrypted, allowing attackers to easily and frequently commit other crimes like identity theft and bank fraud without even running the risk of being tracked down or caught. They can also check any messages or files you may have sent while connected to the Wi-Fi network.
How can you protect yourself from such cyber security risks?
Select the Proper Community
Have you ever attempted to connect to public Wi-Fi and seen several related but distinct community names? Wi-Phishing (Opens in a new window) is a well-known man-in-the-middle attack by hackers that tries to fool you into logging into the wrong network to get your data. Most people rely on the strongest, most open sign they can find without taking the time to evaluate it. However, you must always make sure that you select the authorised community. If it is not listed, just contact a staff member for the proper community title.
Select a Safe Zone
Try to find a Wi-Fi hotspot that has locked you out if you want to pick one to connect to. You pick that up properly. Usually, if you see the lock icon, it signifies you might not be able to enter. Networks with no security do not have a lock icon or the word ‘secured’ next to them, which appears on a Windows laptop. If you click on an insecure network on an iPhone, even if it is your own at home, you can get a warning that says Safety Advice.
This is hardly a rigid, unbending norm, after all. Some hotspots do not display the lock because they have what is known as ‘walled backyard’ security: To use the internet, you must log in using a browser. The hotspot frequently provides the login; for example, you could acquire it while checking in at a hotel’s front desk.
It is better to stick to hotspots where the provider—whether it be a conference, hotel, or coffee shop—offers you a clear network to choose from and a password to permit access. You then realise that, at the very least, you are using the community that you are supposed to be using.
Ask to Join
Most devices may be configured to request your permission before joining a network rather than automatically connecting to the strongest available open network or a network they have already connected to. That is wonderful advice. Never assume that a community you used in one location is as safe as one with the same name in another location. Anyone with the right tools may forge the broadcast title of a Wi-Fi network (referred to as the SSID).
You can determine whether or not it is secure to attach if the system asks first. For instance, on iOS, choose to Ask to Be a Part of Networks under Settings > Wi-Fi. The exact location will be different on Android (Opens in a new window) but look in Settings under Community & Web > Wi-Fi choices. You want the Open community notification turned on.
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