Every day, everywhere, billions of people use the internet. That’s not an exaggerated sentence. That’s actually a fact. Millions of people around all the countries in the world perform different types of digital activities, most of which online – from browsing through websites on home networks, to check emails on a mobile data network, to updating social media status on free Wifi connections at coffee shops, cafés, or restaurants.
Sure thing, public Wifi gives convenience to different types of digital online activities, but using such free convenience can also come with undesirable costs.
One of the costs could be your data safety. Because the Wi-Fi you’re connected to is free and public, everyone else can access it, everyone including hackers, cybercriminals, and other malicious organizations, which all might be looking out for you and your Wifi usage for so long and might be waiting for the right time to get into your data security gaps and find something valuable to exploit on.
Public Wifi is said to be a goldmine for hackers; they dig and dig until they find shining, useful information to steal and make good use of. Hackers may have different motives, but they could all be having the ability to steal your social media account passwords, personal files, private photos, bank and other sensitive accounts. Without the right protective measures, you’re dead. Here are three different ways of how these malicious people exploit your free public Wifi.
Three Ways How Public Wi-Fi Can Be Exploited
- Man-in-the-middle attacks
From the name itself, this kind of data invasion trick hackers use is a clever strategic technique where they stand in the middle of your PC and the PC you’re connecting with. In a man-in-the-middle attack, hackers create their own free public accessible network.
They usually create such fake network with the same or similar name as the one you’re currently connecting with. This technique allows them to easily get private information and communication as they spy in the middle of two connected computers. The victim can usually hardly escape, even with HTTPS or an encrypted website.
Malware is a kind of software that is commonly used by hackers to damage computers or disable computer systems. This software gives them access to every single thing on your device – your files, photos, and other private data. This software can even turn on the camera or microphones of your PC without you even knowing.
- Wifi Sniffing
Wifi sniffing is another hacking technique that uses software, worse case, the software used is not even illegal. This technique allows hackers to monitor the traffic of the network, access public Wifi, and record data, which will later be parsed for more specific information.
They are basically designed to capture data and information on wireless networks. As the software is being transmitted, the data is intercepted and decoded into a readable format for hackers to understand.
Unfortunately, these clever hacking techniques can easily be performed by just about any hacker, even the unseasoned ones. That’s why it’s really very important to arm your data with the necessary protection. Here’s how you can secure your data safe while using public Wifi.
- Don’t log in to sensitive accounts. The safest tip when using free public Wifi while securing data safety is to avoid going to bank websites and logging in to your accounts. Banks include money, and that’s just what hackers, most of them at least, are looking for. If they can hack your accounts on your social media sites, why can’t they on bank sites? Speaking of this case, you might also want to avoid sharing log-in details and other bank account information to other websites, as most people also tend to send sensitive information over such channels.
- Regularly check your firewall. To be safe, it is best to turn off any kind of file sharing modes on your PC while using public Wifi and always check to turn on your firewall before connecting to a public network.
- Use a VPN. Virtual Private Networks, like the ones recommended by Best VPN Canada, are one of the safest and most important methods to use when connecting to a free public Wifi. A VPN allows computers to be connected and rerouted to a separate, more secure private network. According to our tests, ExpressVPN Canada has been reported to be the most efficient solution to protect yourself against Wifi hackers.
The truth is there really is no place for absolute safety, neither offline nor online. All you can ever do is to lessen the risks.