Many of us today rely on Wi-Fi to connect with our friends and family or access entertainment. Recently, there has been a large increase in free public Wi-Fi, which is an advantage to workers. Then again, this public Wi-Fi is available in a wide variety of places, ranging from bookstores to restaurants and hotels. However, what most people don’t realize is that public Wi-Fi can be a huge risk to their safety and security. It can expose them to potential hackers and spyware attacks that could be disastrous.
It is highly recommended that you avoid using public Wi-Fi whenever possible and opt for a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when necessary. Investing in a reliable VPN will provide a secure network that encrypts data transmissions and protects your personal information from prying eyes. This comes especially convenient when traveling to countries like Sri Lanka, where you might face strict censorship laws and limited online access. As you can read at EarthWeb, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help travelers bypass such restrictions and enjoy a safe and unrestricted online experience.
We’ll have you know that just as free Wi-Fi is desirable to work professionals, it is the same for cybercriminals and hackers. This is because connecting to public WiFi does not require authentication to get a network connection. Thus, hackers get easy access to devices with little to no security on the network. Evidently, public Wi-Fi networks have a threat, which is the possibility for hackers to serve as a middleman between you and the Wi-Fi. Hence, the hacker can intercept any information you send to the hotspot. In this blog post, we will explain why it is important to avoid public Wi-Fi networks at all costs to protect yourself from malicious individuals looking for an easy target.
Public Wi-Fi Is Insecure
One of the reasons you should avoid public Wi-Fi is that it is insecure. When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, all of the data that you send and receive is unencrypted. This means that anyone who is on the same network as you can easily intercept and read your data. The person can get between your transmissions on the internet and read your private data. Then again, you expose yourself to phishing.
You Don’t Know Who Is Running the Network
Another reason to avoid public Wi-Fi is that you don’t know who is running the network. When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you have no way of knowing who set it up or who is responsible for maintaining it. This means there is no guarantee that the network is safe or secure.
There May Be Malware on the Network
It would be best to avoid public Wi-Fi because some usually have malware. Malware is software that causes damage or disability to computers. Due to software vulnerabilities, cyber attackers can slip malware onto your computer without your knowledge. This software vulnerability is a weakness that the software program or the operating system has. Hence, expert attackers can write codes that target the vulnerability and grant them access to inject malware into your device. Thus, if you connect to a public WiFi network with malware, your computer could get malware attacks.
Your Data Could Be Collected
When you connect to a public WiFi, someone else on the network could collect your data. It’s very easy for an unauthorized person to snoop into your information. Additionally, some cybercriminals can get devices that will assist them in viewing all your online activities. They can access your data easily since you are using unprotected Wi-Fi. The data could include browsing history, passwords, and credit card information. If this data falls into the wrong hands, they could use it for identity theft or other malicious purposes.
You Could Be Tracked
Another reason to avoid public Wi-Fi is that you can be tracked through this medium. When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, it broadcasts your device’s MAC address (a unique identifier) to everyone on the network. Hence, someone could use your MAC address to track your online activity or even physically locate your device.
Since you are aware that using public Wi-Fi has its risks, you should avoid connecting to just any free network. If you must use public Wi-Fi, you should ensure you do not access sensitive information. In addition, you can stick to only HTTPS websites, as these websites have SSL certificates. Websites with HTTPS addresses are usually encrypted. Thus, it is difficult for a hacker to get your information. Finally, if you must access sensitive information using public Wi-Fi, you can use a privacy screen. The function of a privacy screen is to blacken your display from everyone except you. Hence, fraudsters can’t steal any information from you.