An open Wi-Fi connection seems like a lifesaver when you’re on the go. Consider yourself in an event where you get free event WiFi, it makes your work easy and you consider it safe to use. But there is a thing that you should always remember. When you spot a free Wi-Fi connection in a public space try not to connect it with your phone, laptop or another gadget. Because connecting to such an unsecured network is more like risking your personal information or data to get stolen.
The features that make free Wi-Fi connections desirable for consumers make them attractive for hackers also. An unsecured Wi-Fi requires no authentication to establish a network connection which makes it more dangerous. It creates an amazing opportunity for the hacker to get anonymous access to all the devices on the same network.
The biggest threat to free Wi-Fi connection is the ability for the hacker to position himself between you and the connection point. So instead of sending your data directly with the hotspot, you’re sending your information to the hacker who can manipulate it easily.
The hacker has access to every piece of information you’re sending out on the Internet like your important emails, credit card information and even security credentials to your business network. Once the hacker has that information, he can at his freedom access your system as if he is you. Hackers can also use an unsecured Wi-Fi connection to distribute malware. If you allow file-sharing across a network, the hacker can easily plant corrupted software on your computer. Some clever hackers even manage to hack the connection point itself causing a pop-up window to appear during the connection process offering an upgrade to a piece of popular software. Clicking the window installs the malware.
As mobile Wi-Fi becomes increasingly common, you can expect Internet security issues and public Wi-Fi risks to grow over time. But this doesn’t mean you have to stay away from free Wi-Fi and rope yourself to something. The vast majority of hackers are simply going after easy targets, and taking a few precautions should keep your information safe.
• A virtual private network (VPN) connection is a must when connecting to your business through an unsecured connection like a Wi-Fi hotspot. Even if a hacker manages to position himself in the middle of your connection, the data will be strongly encrypted.
• If you haven’t actively connected to a network, the Wi-Fi hardware in your computer is still transmitting data between any network within range. If you’re just using your computer to work on a Word or Excel document, keep your Wi-Fi off. As a bonus, you’ll also experience a much longer battery life.
• When connecting to the Internet at a public place, you’re unlikely to want to share anything. You can turn off sharing from the system preferences or Control Panel to stop sharing your data to avoid hacking.