Public Wi-Fi and cyber security
Cybercrime is an incredibly popular industry where criminals take advantage of lucrative opportunities to safely commit their crimes. In many cases, these criminals do not even have to live in the same country where the crime they commit takes place.
With so many places in our digital world where we are vulnerable to a cybercriminal̵7;s attacks, perhaps at the top of the list is when using public Wi-Fi.
What exactly is Wi-Fi? Simply put, Wi-Fi allows your digital devices to communicate with each other and other Internet users without a wired connection, all while within a specific coverage area. Public Wi-Fi is a service provided by a restaurant or cafe or any other public place that offers its customers access to the Internet, often free of charge.
Free internet sounds great, but as is the case with most things in cybersecurity and cybercrime, free usually doesn’t mean very secure. Without the need to authenticate to establish a network connection, free Wi-Fi provides an easy opportunity for cybercriminals to access your sensitive information to do any number of things with it, none of which are good.
That being said, you may find yourself in a situation where your only Wi-Fi option is public and unsecured. Still, you need to take action on a business task now. If such a situation arises, here are some tips to help you with the use of public Wi-Fi. If you have any questions, contact our office at 413.475.7283 or fill out our quote form online today!
- When you’re in a public place, don’t assume because it says “McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi” on your phone that you’re connecting to McDonald’s internet. Many criminals will choose legitimate names to trick you into thinking you’re connecting to the right place. Always ask the service provider for the exact spelling of their hotspot name.
- When using public Wi-Fi, never log into a website that has access to your sensitive information – no healthcare websites, no banking or financial websites, and nothing that requires a password.
- Use SSL to encrypt your communications when accessing web accounts or email. To do this, make sure the URLs you visit say HTTPS and not just HTTP.
- Always use a VPN. Virtual private networks provide even better protection when accessing a corporate network.
- Always use a secure wireless provider. They will provide you with a secret passphrase required to access their service.
- Disable automatic Wi-Fi connection. Configure your Wi-Fi to only connect to the hotspots you choose and not automatically to any hotspot that’s available.
- Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use. This will prevent accidental connections.
- Invest in an unlimited data plan to prevent the need to use public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi is incredibly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, as this connection mode facilitates easy access to your sensitive information. For the sake of your colleagues, your loved ones, and even yourself, when it comes to public Wi-Fi, remember the tips from this article and proceed with caution. Also, call (413) 475-7283 or visit us at www.encharter.com to speak with an agent about your security needs and budget so you’re protected from cyber threats.