Last morning, my editor accused me of being the absolute Zoomer who likes to hand over his soul and public Wi-Fi data.
In fact, I didn’t see a problem with public Wi-Fi until I started dealing with it, half dealing with its “zoomer-shaming” and half dealing with the privacy nightmare that public Wi-Fi could be.
But should you be worried? Is it one of those things like “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”?
No it is not. Protect yourself. Let’s explain.
Is public Wi-Fi dangerous?
Here is Kaspersky on public Wi-Fi:
“The biggest threat to free Wi-Fi security is the ability of a hacker to place himself between you and a connection point. So instead of talking directly to the hotspot, you send your information to a hacker, who then passes it on.
By working in this setting, the hacker has access to all the information you send online: important e-mails, credit card information and even security data to your business network. Once a hacker has this information, he can – in his spare time – access your systems as if you were. “
Therefore, a hacker could hypothetically place in a public space, set up a connection to a public Wi-Fi hotspot (to which you could connect by phone), and steal your data using your device, which is voluntarily connected to that hotspot.
As Kaspersky goes on to say, what a hacker can do with this data is quite far-reaching. Your computer system could be directly accessible and malware could be distributed to computers on your local network. Your passwords and access to your bank account may be compromised.
Hacking is obviously an extreme scenario (although several serious hacks have been reported) that can be mitigated by doing the right things. In the end, it can be completely avoided by having a capable mobile broadband or phone plan with enough data to allow you to be self-sufficient in terms of internet needs.
There is also data collection
Hackers are not your only problem on public Wi-Fi. While a Wi-Fi connection cannot provide you with a cookie (by itself), the welcome page of that public Wi-Fi system may leave you with a cookie that tracks your data and Internet searches.
With that in mind, your network provider can monitor what you’re doing on a public Wi-Fi network. If you share sensitive data, it’s a good idea to keep it out of public networks.
How to stay safe on public Wi-Fi
Don’t get us wrong, we don’t want to scare you from using public Wi-Fi, we just want you to be as safe as possible.
Here’s how to protect yourself on public Wi-Fi connections.
- Get a VPN: With a VPN, your data becomes less of an easy target for a hacker, even if your public Wi-Fi connection has been compromised.
- Get antivirus software: Good antivirus software should be able to protect you from malware infection.
- Use an SSL connection: As Kaspersky says, “Enable the ‘Always use HTTPS’ option on websites that you visit frequently or that require some kind of login information.” If the website you need to access has a login portal, it probably has the ability to encrypt HTTPS, which should make it harder for a hacker to steal your data through your credentials.
- Keep your Wi-Fi turned off: While you can keep your device tuned so that it doesn’t connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots, turning off Wi-Fi when you’re on the go will prevent it completely, so there’s no chance your technology will go wrong. you join a risky hotspot you may have connected to before, and a hacker attacks him. Your battery should also last a little longer.
- Get a mobile broadband connection (or a phone plan with a lot of data): the best way to avoid security threats is not to take any risks at first. Try to use your own data for public Internet access and minimize which Wi-Fi you connect to outside of trusted connections (such as your corporate and home Wi-Fi).
- Avoid sensitive data on public networks: Avoid entering passwords and accessing bank information when you’re on a public network.
- Avoid problematic connections: If your public Wi-Fi connection looks questionable or there is a duplicate connection, try avoiding it. It can easily be a compromised connection.
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