Public WiFi networks are cyber criminals’ best friend. More than 70% of computer users regularly use public WiFi hotspots with an almost equal # of cell phone and tablet users as well. Why not? Being connected is convenient and who doesn’t like the price of ‘free’ when it comes to internet access.
Cyber criminals easily exploit public WiFi in two major ways:
- By eavesdropping and collecting unencrypted data that is being passed through the networks
- By creating fake WiFi hotspots that appear legitimate. In the latter case, hackers then harvest all of the information coming through their fake WiFi access point.
8 Ways You Can Protect Yourself Against Public WiFi Hacking.
- Be very aware. Public WiFi is notoriously insecure. Remember that and surf smart.
- Never assume a listed WiFi link is legitimate. Sure, it may say ‘Peets Coffee Wireless’ and look like it’s a legitimate Peet’s WiFi gateway, but it could very easily be fake. Question everything. Look at the website – check it for continuity, misspellings, etc.
- Take the extra step and confirm the WiFi connection is the real thing. To confirm, ask an employee of the business offering the WiFi its name and, if possible, IP address.
- Don’t visit sensitive websites when using a public WiFi point. Save the online banking, shopping and social media for a known, safe network.
- Remind yourself that all devices are at risk. ‘Nuff said.
- Protect your devices with antivirus software. While anti-virus software is no magic bullet and is inherently weak, it’s better than nothing and will help. Use it.
- Avoid the WiFi altogether and connect via your cell phone or your own wireless internet device. Aside from the protection they offer, portable, personal wifi devices are now cheap, convenient and, usually, much faster than any public WiFi network you might use.
- Use BankVault. As an additional security layer, BankVault is able to safely encrypt your data. This eliminates any risk of you having your data ‘overheard’ and intercepted by a cyber criminal. VPN‘s can also be used however they are less secure.