Use of free public wifi comes with a number of serious threats. Free public wifi is less secure than your private network. Thousands of people are connected with public wifi. Therefore, in the world of cybersecurity, it is very necessary to understand the risks and threats of public wifi. Recognition of these threats will prevent you from an attack and being a victim of technology.
WIFI measures come with many flaws and are not trustable. The biggest threat of using public wifi is the hackers are more likely to steal your confidential information. It is very easy for hackers to access your information like debit or credit card information, bank account details, emails and contacts. And once the hacker has all the information, you have given him the way to heaven. Despite various security warnings, educating people about the dangers of public wifi, people are still unable to figure out the dangerous situation.
If you are stuck in a situation, here are a few suggestions that you should apply while using public WIFI.
1. Don't access your personal information
If you are using a public WiFi network, you should avoid accessing your Personal Identifiable Information like a bank account, social network account and contact numbers. Any kind of personal information which is related to data-stealing should be avoided to enter. Don't take the risk to disclose your personal information for the temporary happiness of finding free wifi. Information sent or received using a free wireless system is prone to data leakage. Several people browse adult content websites who are more sensitive to approach your vital files. People dependent on free wi-fi put their information at risk.
2. Use your personal Data plan
People prefer to use public wifi to save from the expenses of their phone bills. It is better to have your own unlimited data plan. This will not only avoid your demand for using insecure wifi networks but it will also eliminate a need for VPN connection. Android devices are more prone to get attacked by these free wifi. The benefit of using personal data over wifi is you can use your cellular data anytime and anywhere and offers you a guarantee that your connection will remain secure. You can also connect your laptop or another device using your smartphone.
3. Avoid File sharing
Change your configuration settings to avoid sharing or access to your files over guest networks or public wifi. When you are using public wifi in a hotel or any other place, turn off your file sharing. The unauthorized users are very smart, it's very important to play safe with them. Verify from the staff and other people, if the network is legitimate to use. You can turn off the file-sharing from the control panel. These hackers frame fake networks, so you need to be smart enough to avoid getting victimized.
4. Stay safe from worm attacks
Worms can avoid destruction by themselves. They are quite similar to computer viruses. While connecting to a public network, if you do not have tight security, a worm can easily get transferred from another device to your computer.
5. Always check before signing
Before you connect to a public WiFi, read the terms and conditions. Check the name of the network. Try to spot any major flaws in the network. Validate a network connection. The open, unsecured and public wifi networks never have any login screen. Whenever you find any public wifi at your friend's place, airport or coffee shop, you just start browsing the internet, without worrying about the password. The best solution for this is to use an encrypted Wi-Fi network. Networks with strong passwords are difficult to attack. Some connections provide encrypted and open network, so better opt for the encrypted network.
6. Criminal activity
A hacker can load child pornography or any authorized content into your phone. The crime risk in public wifi. Public places wifi invites criminal activities. These cyber criminals hide their activities under the mask of the internet and it becomes difficult to find them. People refuse to follow security norms while using free internet. Government is building certain safeguards to avoid the dangers. Understanding the risk of public wifi can save you from falling victim and avoid being easy targets for attackers.
7. Rogue Wi-Fi networks
These rogue wifi networks look legitimate and even has the same name as a legitimate one, and the unauthorized users are waiting to have unauthorized access to your personal information. While you login to these rogue networks, hackers can approach your sensitive information. These networks are set up by cybercriminals to attract people to connect to their network. Once you connect to these rogue networks, the attacker can possess the data and insert software that may steal or corrupt into your connected devices.
8. Mobile apps are insecure
We spent a long time using our mobile phones. While browsing through a page, we are automatically thrown to the websites, which is exposed to attacks. Due to being irresponsible, busy schedule sometimes we don't bother to have an antivirus software into our mobile. When in the free network, we want to make the maximum use of it. We want to download information about usage. So the best idea is to deactivate your phone and use the open wifi so that there is no harm to your precious information.
9. Use encrypted HTTPS
SSL is a security protocol which is used for encrypting the data you are accessing. Google Chrome easily recognizes the site which you visit uses an encrypted HTTPS connection or an unencrypted HTTPS connection with the warning rag "not secure". Read that warning carefully in the address bar of your device particularly while using public wifi. HTTPS ensures that information exchange from the website is secure. A secure SSL connection is needed to encrypt and decrypt the request and the responses. HTTPS network makes online transactions secure and possible. HTTPS encryption is needed to frame the new protocols to establish the network faster.
The other Wi-Fi security threat is a man-in-the-middle (MiM or MitM). The hackers divert the data through eavesdropping. The parties are in myth if they are in direct communication with each other while the truth is the attacker transfer messages between two parties and the whole communication is controlled by him. The information obtained by attackers can be used for identity theft, money transaction or password change. The things susceptible to MITM attacks are the sites that require your login information like banking apps, money transaction apps and social networking accounts.
11. Endpoint attacks
Endpoints like nodes or any device when connected to Local Area Network (LAN) or Wireless Area Network (WAN) and are responsible for two-way communication between the networks. These endpoint threats comprise both malware and non-malware attacks and cause financial loss and steal data. Endpoint security differs from network security, firewall and antivirus. Examples of endpoints are Workstations, Tablets, Laptops, Desktops and Servers. Endpoints are vulnerable access points for cybercriminals. These criminals encrypt the assets and access high-value information. The endpoint security prevents malware attacks, protect the software without affecting the system performance.
12. Use two-factor authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication requires a password and an authentication code to login into the website. Even if the hackers know your password, they can never guess your secondary code. The secondary security should be changed regularly. When you logged into any website, a code is sent to your mobile number through SMS or voice call or email id. Every time you log in, a different verification code is sent to your mobile number every time. Only after entering the two-factor authentication code, you can log in into the website.
13. Use VPN
Use of VPN service will make people view only encrypted data. Using the VPN service provider will make your online presence private and secure. VPN changes your IP address which makes your browsing anonymous. Use of VPN is highly recommended when you are accessing sensitive information like accessing your bank accounts while being in a. public network. VPNs are becoming very popular because of its features like protecting from unreliable Wi-Fi network and overcoming restrictions for geographic locations. You can hide your true location while travelling or working in a coffee shop.
14. Turn off wifi when not in use
Disable your wifi setting when you are not using it. Because when the setting is on, your device may automatically get connected to any open network. When you have finished your work turn off the wifi on your laptop and mobile phone. This habit will keep you safe from untrustworthy networks. This way you can also save your battery from draining faster. Some android devices have a feature to turn off the wifi after a certain interval.
15. Use Antivirus and enable a firewall
Install antivirus in your device because this antivirus software will help you detect malware attacks while using the public open network. They immediately identify malware attacks and suspicious activities on your device and give notifications to make you alert. The antivirus software detects phishing websites and blocks traffic from them. They scan the wifi network and warn the user about the security.
Enabling the firewall provides security and enhance your device performance. Their main purpose is to block traffic for specific IP addresses.