Why you should never connect to public Wi-Fi

Wednesday 08th Sep 2021 |

Connecting to public Wi-Fi is very desirable for consumers, particularly if you’re working remotely.

However, the same features that make free Wi-Fi hotspots desirable for consumers make them desirable for hackers also.

Techshielder have produced an article about the dangers of connecting to public Wi-Fi and tips to keep you safe while doing so.

Techshielder reveals why you should never connect to public Wi-Fi when remote working

Connecting to public Wi-Fi is very desirable for consumers, particularly if you’re working remotely. However, the same features that make free Wi-Fi hotspots desirable for consumers make them desirable for hackers also. In this article, cyber security experts Techshielder reveal the five main risks of connecting to public wi-fi and how to overcome them. 

1. Man-in-the-Middle Attack

When connecting to public Wi-Fi it requires no authentication to establish a network connection, which creates an opportunity for the hacker to eavesdrop and get free access to unsecured devices on the same network. When a consumer connects to the internet, data is sent from the computer to the service or website. This leaves an open space where hackers can get in between these transmissions and eavesdrop on them. Not only is your privacy being violated, it gives hackers access to every piece of information you’re sending out on the internet: important emails, credit card information and security info for your business network.

public wifi

2. Malware Distribution

A software vulnerability can make an operating system or software program weak, which hackers can exploit. Software vulnerabilities, such as delaying important updates, mean that hackers are able to place malware onto your computer without you even knowing. Simply by writing code to target that specific vulnerability, they will be able to inject malware into your computer/device if you’re connected to public Wi-Fi.

3. Dodgy Hotspots

Fraudulent hotspots trick consumers into connecting to what they think is a legitimate network because the name sounds trustworthy. Let’s say you’re staying in a hotel and you connect to a Wi-Fi name that seems legitimate, you may actually be connecting to a rogue connection instead set up by a hacker. This means that a hacker will then be able to access yours and your employer’s sensitive, private information.

4. Wi-Fi Snooping

Certain software and devices can help hackers assist them to eavesdrop on Wi-Fi signals. This form of attack is called “snooping”. Snooping can allow the hacker to access everything you are doing online whilst you are working remotely. For instance, they can see if you have viewed a webpage and the details you may have logged into a webpage. This leaves you open to have your employer’s information captured and even your personal accounts hijacked.

5. Unencrypted Networks

Encryption means that information sent between your computer and the wireless router are in the form of a “secret code”. It cannot be read by anyone who doesn’t have the key to unlock the code. When routers are shipped from a factory, the encryption is often turned off by default, and must be turned on when the network is set up. If an IT professional sets up the network, then chances are good that encryption has been enabled. However, there is no accurate way to tell if this has happened.

Techshielder believes to stay safe when connecting to public Wi-Fi when remote working you should, disable file sharing, only visit sites using HTTPS, log out of accounts as soon as you have finished using them, and use a secure VPN to make sure your public Wi-Fi connections are made private.

More ways you can stay safe when connecting to public Wi-Fi are by not delaying upgrades, which can help fix security flaws, and not allowing your Wi-Fi to auto-connect to networks or log onto a network that isn’t password protected. Furthermore, do not leave your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on if you are not using them.

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