What are the risks of using public Wi-Fi?

Public Wi-Fi is super convenient when you’re on the go and are in need of some data! Yes the benefits are great, free fast and convenient Wi-Fi, but really, you are paying for it with your privacy. In this blog, we’ll take you through the risks and dangers of using public Wi-Fi. The common risks of using public Wi-Fi are data theft, Wi-Fi eavesdropping and malware attacks.

 

Data Theft

Most public Wi-Fi does not require a password, so by connecting your device to this network, you are risking cybercriminals accessing your data. This could be important documents, your credentials for your bank, email or social media accounts. Resulting in major data loss for you. By logging into your accounts using public Wi-Fi networks, you could be risking your work database, client data, and confidential and personal information.

 

Wi-Fi eavesdropping

Wi-Fi eavesdropping is when a cybercriminal creates a public W-Fi network using surrounding businesses names, making the network seem legitimate. Once you have connected your device to this network, cybercriminals are able to monitor your online activity and collect your log in credentials, as well as other data.

 

Malware from compromised devices

When you connect to a public network, you don’t know what other devices are also connected. A device on the network could potentially be compromised and have malicious malware. This malware could spread onto the network, inflecting your device and sending your information to cybercriminals!

 

Best practises

As you can see, cybercriminals take full advantage of these unsecured public networks. So it’s important that you are careful with your data if you choose to connect to one. Best practises are;

  • Make sure your auto-connect settings are switched off so you don’t automatically connect to public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Turn off file sharing to prevent sharing folders with other devices on the network
  • Use a HTTPS extension in your browser, so you have access safer websites
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN) if you need to use public Wi-Fi to make it very challenging for cybercriminals to decrypt your data.
  • Turn Wi-Fi off when you’re not using it

 

There are many risks to using public Wi-Fi that could be damaging for you personally and for your workplace. Knowing the risks of public networks and best practises can keep your own and other people’s data safe. Next time you are tempted to connect to free Wi-Fi, remember that it’s not really free.

 

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