Who does not like public Wi-Fi? The thrill of consuming a large amount of data and downloading all that you want for free is unbearable! While at home, you have to shell out big bucks to get a hand over a certain amount of internet data, a public Wi-Fi gives that to you for free. Coffee shop, McDonald’s, CCD, and Domino’s must remind you of Wi-Fi, don’t they?
But have you ever thought that public Wi-Fi might be harming you? Or stealing your data? Or worse, injecting malware to your device? I’m sure your mind must have been so involved in consuming data that you might not have explored its dark side. But do not worry. We provide you with five reasons to quit public Wi-Fi right now! Perhaps it is true when it is said that all free things are not suitable for you.
1. Unsecured Networks
You have to understand that an IT Professional does not run every shop that you enter. Whenever Wi-Fi are put up, they are encrypted to make them secure. What is encryption? It is like a secret code that is required to enter into the network, which not everybody knows unless they have the key to decrypt the information.
The chances of a public Wi-Fi being secured are very less! Why? Because the shops do not spend much in cyber-security as you will notice, many shops have different Wi-Fi they use themselves and different public Wi-Fi. Isn’t it trickery? Well, now, you know.
2. Malware Attacks
A malware attack is the last thing you want while peacefully sipping coffee in a coffee shop. In a public place, you are not the only one using public Wi-Fi, many do! And that many include hackers who enjoy exploiting vulnerabilities in your OS. Whether you use Apple or Windows, Android, or iOS, you are never free of software vulnerability. It is this loophole that is used by the hackers as they write specific lines of code to inject malware in your smartphone and take it down.
So if you use public Wi-Fi- Hacker: 1 You: 0
3. Spying and Eavesdropping
When you connect to a public Wi-Fi you know nothing about, you are exposing all your information to the network, and the criminally minded people can use the same open system to download software called spyware on your mobile secretly.
When you have spyware on your device, the person behind the spyware will be able to access everything on your device, hear what you are talking about on your phone, see what you are texting, access all bank details on your device, etc.
They may even see your saved passwords and login details and hack your accounts. Doesn’t that sound dangerous? Well, the only way out is not to use such public Wi-Fi.
Some also give it the term “Wi-Fi” sniffing, where like your traffic is continuously being monitored.
4. MitM Attacks
MitM attacks are also called the Man-in-the-Middle attacks and are the most common types of cybercrime occurring on public Wi-Fi systems. It occurs when someone enters between your device and the website server you are accessing to keep an eye on everything you are doing. So what you think you are doing in private may not be private all.
Often, hackers have utilized public Wi-Fi systems to display objectionable content on a large computer screen and embarrass public authorities. There is no way to know whether you are under a MitM attack because none of your functioning is impacted directly, whatever that happens is outside of your device!
If you do not want to be part of it, avoid public Wi-Fi.
5. Unidentified Hotspots
Whenever you visit a restaurant or a hotel, free Wi-Fi is a thing you expect more than food and hospitality. But you may be tricked into connecting with unknown rogue hotspots by planning so. Often, when a public place does not have Wi-Fi, criminals create fake hotspots to lure the people into joining with it.
As soon as the person connects with the rogue hotspot, his information is exposed to the hotspot owner. It is extremely dangerous as you may not even know that your data is being compromised, and you may continue to use it for days!
How Do I Protect Myself
a) Well, the obvious solution would be to stop using public Wi-Fi. Come one! You can’t be a miser. Just spend something yourself on buying mobile data, or a hacker may use your bank details to buy something of his wishes.192.168.1.128 It is the simplest and safest way to stay away from the cons of public Wi-Fi.
b) Stable Anti-Virus software on your device will protect you from all suspicious attacks and links while you continue to use a public network. It would be great if the Anti-Virus comes with Internet Security and Anti- Malware! So you can either spend on an excellent data package or buy an Anti-Virus- the choice is yours!
c) You should connect only with credible Public Wi-Fi, and not any random hotspot you see is free. Always confirm whether the shop you are visiting has Wi-Fi or not and ask about its security. It is a safe way to go about and stop getting exposed to threats.
d) Close the option of automatically connecting to public hotspots! Now!
e) You can use a free Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is like a safety bunker that protects you from unidentified hacking attempts.
Now that you know the apparent cons of a public Wi-Fi, it is up to you whether you want to be safe or make your data public too, along with using a public Wi-Fi.