Hackers: Avoiding hidden dangers of public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi creates a golden opportunity for cyber-criminals
- Hackers agree on two common points that can make any public Wi-Fi hotspot vulnerable
- It can take only a couple of minutes to start peeking at confidential information
- If you’re lucky, the snooper may just read your browsing activity
With COVID-19 restrictions being eased or lifted and people returning to cafes, malls and increasingly using buses, trains again, public Wi-Fi has become a golden opportunity for cyber-criminals.
What makes public Wi-Fi unsafe
From the expert study, hackers agreed on two common points that can make any public Wi-Fi hotspot vulnerable. These are poor router configuration and a lack of a strong password. They claim it can take a couple of minutes to start peeking at confidential information sent from a device connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi.
If you’re lucky, the snooper may just read your browsing activity. But in the worst-case scenario, they can steal all your sensitive information, including passwords and credit card details.
As your device is constantly looking for trusted Wi-Fi networks, stalkers can use these connection requests to find out where you live. It’s enough to type it on a public website that creates heatmaps of Wi-Fi hotspots.
How to stay safe
Digital privacy experts provide some useful tips on what you should do to protect your devices and the information they hold:
- When connecting to a Wi-Fi in a coffee shop or a hotel, always double-check the network name with a member of the staff. Remember, hackers might create fake Wi-Fi hotspots using names that look trustworthy.
- On public Wi-Fi, avoid visiting sensitive websites, logging into your social accounts, and never perform any banking transactions. Public Wi-Fi is best for browsing the internet.
- Enable your firewall. Most operating systems have a built-in firewall, which keeps outsiders from going through your computer’s data.
- Use a VPN (virtual private network). A reliable VPN will make sure your online connections are private and no sensitive data can get into the hands of criminals.
- Remember to turn off the Wi-Fi function on your device when not using it.