Free public WiFi is becoming more and more abundant in the country, providing internet connection to users around the metro. And while it’s very convenient (and again, free), they also come with significant security risks.
Oftentimes, those found in malls, cafes, airports, and hotels, are unsecured, which means that anyone can connect to them. This makes it particularly easy for hackers to intercept your data, steal personal information, and even gain access to your devices.
Risks of using public WiFi
One of the biggest risks of using public WiFi is that hackers can set up fake networks with similar names to legitimate ones. These fake networks, called “evil twins,” are designed to trick users into connecting to them. Once connected, the hacker can then intercept your data and steal personal information, such as login credentials and financial information.
Another risk of using public WiFi is that hackers can use “sniffing” tools to intercept data transmitted over its network. This can include sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers, and even personal messages.
How to protect yourself when using public WiFi
Here are some tips on how to protect yourself when using public WiFi.
- Use a reputable VPN: A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your internet traffic and keeps your online activities private.
- Avoid Sensitive Tasks: Avoid logging into financial accounts, making online purchases, or sharing sensitive information when using public WiFi.
- Update Your Devices: Ensure that your devices and operating systems are up to date, as the latest security patches can help protect against vulnerabilities.
- Watch Out for Fake Networks: Be wary of public WiFi networks that have generic names or that you haven’t seen before. These could be fake networks created by hackers to steal your information.
- Use Two-Factor Authentication: Whenever possible, use two-factor authentication to log into your accounts. This adds an extra layer of security and makes it harder for hackers to access your accounts.
- Disable File Sharing: Disable file sharing on your devices when using public WiFi to prevent others from accessing your files.
- Be Careful When Downloading: Avoid downloading attachments or files from unfamiliar or suspicious sources, as they could contain malware.
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By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of being hacked or having your information stolen when using public WiFi. Remember to always be vigilant and protect your personal information whenever you’re online.