Using Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
How many of us really disconnect while on our travels? Whether it’s quickly checking our emails, mobile banking or catching up on some social media, we all like to stay up to date. Some travellers are blessed with great data plans and never have to connect to a public Wi-Fi while out and about, however others of us find it a blessing to find that next Wi-Fi hotspot. However, have you ever wondered about the risks of using a public Wi-Fi hotspot and how you can minimalise them?
The Dangers of Using a Public Wi-Fi
The open nature of a public Wi-Fi leaves room for snooping and opens the risk of your details being compromised. The largest risk of using a public Wi-Fi is the ability of a hacker to put themselves between you and your desired connection (this is commonly known as a man in the middle attack). When this happens your details are sent to the hacker who then sends these across to the Wi-Fi hotspot (which you believe you are already sending the information to). In the process your details and any information you have submitted is readily available to the hacker. Less frequently, hackers can distribute malicious software and malware using the Wi-Fi connection.
Ways to reduce the risks of using a public Wi-Fi
- Visit web pages which are using HTTPS – this indicates that the webpage is using SSL/ TLS encryption which makes it harder for man in the middle attacks to take place
- Ensure any sharing on your mobile or computer is switched off
- Use a VPN – this is a way of browsing the internet while using an extra layer of protection
- Take care when connecting to a hotspot, some appear legitimate however have been created by the malicious individual
- Enable two factor authentication where possible – this adds an extra layer of security to your accounts.
- Always log out of your accounts when you’re finished
- Even with these precautions in place it’s recommended to never use public Wi-Fi connections for anything sensitive or secure such as online banking
- To increase security, say no to using a hotspot and use mobile data when possible and affordable
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Date Created: 05 August 2016 by Kim Coppins