It seems so tempting… sitting in the booth of your favorite local coffee shop or maybe in desperation at the airport where you don’t have a phone signal, but don’t do it. Don’t do what? Don’t use the public Wi-Fi. Tell your kids not to use the public wi-fi. Tell your parents not to use the public Wi-Fi. Most importantly if you have a business NEVER use public Wi-Fi.
Here’s why you should never use a public unsecured Wi-Fi connection ever again.
Password and username vulnerability on open Wi-Fi networks.
This seems like a pretty obvious for most, but by using an open Wi-fi network you are making yourself vulnerable to having passwords and usernames stolen with each account you login to while Using a public Wi-Fi. We always recommend using a second level of security to your login information like verifying it is you through your cell phone or e-mailing you a security code. This will help prevent hackers from obtaining access to those accounts. If you think your passwords may have been compromised for any reason consider changing them. Read more on our blog HERE.
Unidentified Wi-Fi networks.
How certain are you that the “open” network you are connected to is a legitimate access point to the internet? What if you were being tricked into using a Wi-Fi network? Imagine allowing a thief to rummage through your wallet or purse. What information could they steal? Connecting to unknown wi-fi access point could be opening your device to thieves who can use your data to steal your personal information.
On a public access point your data could be intercepted by unauthorized third-party users. By, third party users we are referring to are “hackers.” Using an unsecured network, hackers can intercept data as you are sending it and you would never know.
Unauthorized installations of malware over unsecured Wi-Fi networks
We have virus protection on most of our devices, but new ones are created every single day. Hackers can use an unsecured Wi-Fi connection to install unwanted programs (malware) onto your device through an unsecured network. Often it is too late when the malware is found. Many times, your data has already been compromised when you realize something is wrong. The longer the unauthorized malware goes unnoticed the more damage it can do.
The Violating Snoopers.
Imagine someone watching you for days and weeks without you knowing. That is basically one of the dangers of your devices getting hacked. One of the ways that hackers gain access to your devices is when you use public Wi-fi access points. It allows thieves access to your home, your conversations, your camera. Imagine your child’s laptop getting hacked in their rooms. This is a very dangerous.
Hackers can gain to access everything on your devices remotely. Enabling them to capture your login credentials and potentially hijack your accounts. For tips on keeping your kids safe online, refer to our article HERE.
Use a VPN if you have one
If you are doing work on a business issued device, and have the ability to use a VPN please do so. What is a VPN? A VPN is a Virtual Personal Network. It allows the user to remotely login to a sever that is protected and stored in a location that isn’t on your device. This adds another level of security to everything you are doing while you are online, even if you are using a private Wi-Fi network.
Use your data. Through your cell phone carrier, you are offered data plans. Many carriers offer “Wi-Fi Hot-Spots” which enable you to share your data with another device such as a laptop or another phone. This is the safest way to connect to the internet when you are in a public place. Don’t fall for the temptation to use the public Wi-Fi network again, and tell your friends.