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Why is Public Wi-Fi Dangerous to Your Security

Why is Public Wi-Fi Dangerous to Your Security

The world is a busy place with industries operating 24/7 and people working everywhere but why is public Wi-Fi dangerous to your security?

Convenience and consequence are a balancing act with so many remote and mobile users.  A lot of employees use free public Wi-Fi networks however it comes with a number of serious cyber security risks.

Even with all these cyber security risks, security surveys show that an overwhelming majority of employees use it anyways.  According to the same cyber security survey, 75 percent of people admitted to connecting to their personal email while using public Wi-Fi. This is one reason why is public dangerous to your security.

It is hard to resist a few moments of online convenience as most think it will not happen to them.  This is when cyber security hackers look for users access money or financial information so it can be stolen.  This would be embarrassing as your personal information will be released online or on the dark web.

A recent IT security study showed that users are not confident in public Wi-Fi networks, but they still access it. They understand why is public Wi-FI dangerous.  In a recent Republican and Democratic National Conventions, over 70 percent of attendees used the free public Wi-Fi networks.

Cyber security consultants, remote workers and mobile devices can cause a lot of harm form theft personal data, passwords, financial information, and other private information.  Every time a user uses public Wi-Fi, they are rolling the dice every time in a coffee shop, hotel lobby, or airport lounge.

Why is Public Wi-Fi Dangerous to Your Security (1)

Why is public Wi-Fi dangerous to your security and is the problem exaggerated?

No, cyber security theft is not only a large corporation problem.  Organizations of all sizes and personal accounts are subject to it.  A recent Verizon Annual Data Breach Investigation Report showed that 89 percent of all cyberattacks involve financial or espionage motives.

There are many online e-learning tutorials showing hackers how to compromise public Wi-Fi. These resources have millions of views as people learn to the “Man in the Middle” cyberattack.   The cyberattack is simple, the cybercriminal intercepts the device and the destination by making the device think the hacker’s machine is the access point to the internet.

There have been cases of hotels getting compromised.  They get suspecting users to  log on to the free Wi-Fi in their hotel room.  These users think they are joining the hotel’s network but in reality, it is the hacker nearby boosting a stronger Wi-Fi signal off of their laptop therefore tricking the user by labeling it with the hotel’s free Wi-Fi name.

What is the best way to protect yourself against public Wi-Fi threats?

Next generation antivirus and next generation firewalls are essential cyber security tools but limited to no effect against hackers on unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Consider the following cyber security tips to keep your devices secure:

  • Do not use public Wi-Fi to shop online, log in to your financial institution, or access other sensitive websites.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to create a secure encrypted connection.
  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA) when logging into sensitive sites like bank, social media, or email.
  • Always visit websites with HTTPS encryption when in public places instead of HTTP web addresses.
  • Never use automatic Wi-Fi connectivity feature on your device.
  • Monitor your Bluetooth connection to ensure others are not intercepting your transfer of data.
  • Use unlimited data plan for your device so you can stop using public Wi-Fi altogether.
  • Use a DNS-layer security service like Cisco Umbrella.

Why is Public Wi-Fi Dangerous to Your Security?

Every time you use it, you are taking your chances and the greater the likelihood that you will suffer some type of cyber security breach.

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