As the convenience of public Wi-Fi hotspots continues to shape our digital interactions, it’s crucial to recognize the hidden risks that lurk amidst the convenience. In this article, we explore the double-edged sword of public Wi-Fi, uncovering the potential threats it poses to your data security. From the elusive Man-in-the-Middle attacks to the treacherous rogue networks, we delve into the tactics that cybercriminals employ to compromise your information. Join us as we navigate the intricacies of safeguarding your data while enjoying the benefits of public Wi-Fi connectivity, ensuring that your online experiences remain both convenient and secure.
Why You May Connect to a Public Wi-Fi network
- Travelling – You may be working outside your workplace or home and need an internet connection. Travelers often use the public Wi-Fi networks in places such as airports and train stations.
- Fast Internet Connection – You are looking for a faster internet connection than one provided by your mobile internet. Wi-Fi networks often offer higher network speeds than mobile tethering.
Measures You Should Take When Working on Public Wi-Fi Network
- Avoid accessing sensitive data – It is best to avoid accessing sensitive data or access as little sensitive data as possible when working in public. Accessing sensitive data in public always has risks, so it’s best to avoid it whenever possible.
- Use a VPN – Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you do access sensitive data. VPNs protect your connection, making data unreadable even if it does get intercepted.
Man-in-the-Middle and Precautions Against it
There are major data risks on public Wi-Fi networks. There can be cybercriminals spying on information you send and receive. This type of surveillance is called a Man-in-the-Middle attack.
- A Man-in-the-Middle allows the attacker to intercept data you send and receive on a public Wi-Fi network. That is why it is important to avoid accessing sensitive data in public, and always encrypt your data using a VPN.
- Before entering sensitive details, you should check that your connection is protected with TLS encryption. You can check this by making sure that there is a HTTPS in the URL bar. A URL bar that starts with HTTPS instead of HTTP means that the site makes use of TLS encryption, and this helps keep your data secure even if it is intercepted on the way.
Precautions Against Rogue Network
A rogue network is a fake Wi-Fi network set up by a cybercriminal. When you connect to a rogue network, it will pass all data you send and receive to the person who set up the network. Let’s see the precautions you need to take:
- Why might a cybercriminal create a Wi-Fi network called something like “coffee shop Wi-Fi”? This is to dupe you into connecting to the network. Once connected, the cyber-criminal can collect all the information you send or receive.
- If you have set up your laptop in a coffee shop, the important measure you should take before connecting to the Wi-Fi network, is to double-check that it is the legitimate network offered by the coffee shop, and not another one with a similar name. A cybercriminal could set up a rogue network with a similar name.