We all know the relief of having access to a public WiFi, especially when we have just run out of our own data bundle. Without too much thought, the natural inclination would be to log in and access the internet. Without a doubt, it is highly convenient, and you do not need to pay! With that said, this does not mean that public WiFi is risk-free.
You have probably used it more than once in your life, whether at an airport or coffee shop. In most cases, to be able to use it you will need a password for confirming that you accept the Terms and Conditions. Public WiFi has been associated with additional risk and in this article, we will discuss the possible dangers of using it. Let us not forget that a public WiFi is intended for the use of many and if whoever set up the network did not address certain security issues, people might take advantage.
So anyone setting up a public WiFi should actually take a step further to ensure optimal security. Most often, small businesses such as catering establishments do not, since it takes both time, money and effort. Unfortunately, the security of public WiFis is exposed especially when they do not have a strong password, a time limit for use and site-filtering software. This makes them more vulnerable to hacker threats. Although it is free, the risk of a security breach is the price we all pay.
Since anyone can access the network, hackers can easily steal personal and private information. This can include simple usernames and passwords to bank details! Public WiFi sources may also be perceived as ideal places for phishing attacks. This occurs when someone sends you a link which takes you to a website to steal your personal information. These are very easy to carry out which underlines the importance of remaining constantly vigilant to threats.
So how can you keep safe when using the internet?
First off, when using public WiFi, always ask yourself, would I be comfortable if everyone else is seeing what I am doing on the internet right now? If you feel that you would not be comfortable because you are going through your bank accounts, it might be ideal to wait until you are using a trusted network. Another solution may be to download your own Virtual Private Network (VPN). This will provide a certain degree of privacy when you are using a public WiFi. Although it is not a hundred percent safe, it will help.
Another recommendation is to keep your devices updated, as they would be more secure that way. Although no guarantee exists that you will not be getting a virus, you are better protected if your device is updated with the latest software.
After reading this article, do you still feel comfortable using public networks? Let us know in the comments section below.