Some good things are said to be complimentary, but not all. This article offers quick safety tips for connecting to an unsecured WiFi network and information on the risks involved. Most public spaces, including coffee shops, libraries, airports, and restaurants, now provide free WiFi. Nobody despises the phrase “free.”
Don’t you think we all adore it and want it everywhere? And when this word is associated with the internet, people go completely insane. In this frenzy, they unwittingly or intentionally expose themselves to online criminals.
An attacker can obtain any information you disclose online using unsecured WiFi, such as your login credentials, banking information, etc.
5 Wireless Network Risks With Solutions
1. Theft of Personal Information
One of the most severe risks of using a public WiFi network is having your data stolen. These networks are straightforward for hackers to breach, and once they do, they have access to all of the data you send to them. Passwords, credit card numbers, and other information transmitted over the airwaves fall into this category.
The excellent news is that Maintaining safety is not difficult. Just keep in mind that the WiFi network you’re using is insecure, so avoid engaging in online activities that require personal information, such as:
- Credit card information is being sent for online purchases.
- Logging into a social media account by entering a password
- Using your email address to access online banking
- Sending an email containing a username or password Because there are usually no restrictions on who can see this information, revealing your PIN in person would be equivalent.
To ensure your safety, only stream music, watch videos, or browse the internet on the network. If a website requires a login, access it through your mobile device’s data network or at home, where WiFi networks are more secure.
2. Attacks by a Man-in-the-Middle
A “man-in-the-middle attack” perpetrator can see everything you type and every page you visit by intercepting your communication with a website. They accomplish this by creating a fake WiFi hotspot that fools your device into thinking it is accurate. If you connect to a cafe’s WiFi network while there, another user may use the same name.
Suppose they intercept sensitive packets after your device connects. In that case, they can see or access your information, including login credentials.
It is risky because you can’t tell whether you’re connected to real WiFi or not. If everything appears in order, your device will connect to their network and accept any terms they have set.
Use a VPN to avoid this (VPN). Unsecured WiFi is like using an encrypted tunnel to hide your activity online.
3. Session Hijacking
Using public WiFi puts you at risk of having your session hijacked. Someone on the same network may be able to access any data you are viewing or entering during your current web session. If you are careless, they may also steal your login information.
You can’t always keep someone from taking over your session, but you can reduce the chances. Close your web browser after use to prevent unauthorized access to the information stored in memory.
If possible, use a virtual private network, or VPN, to connect to an unsecured WiFi network. A VPN will encrypt all of your traffic to prevent eavesdropping.
Furthermore, always use two-factor authentication and strong passwords. These safeguards will make it more difficult for someone to steal your login credentials or hijack your session.
Finally, if you are not using WiFi, turn it off. When you are not using your WiFi connection, it may transmit data that tracks your internet usage.
4. Distribution of Malware
Malware distribution is another risk that comes with unsecured WiFi connections. The following malware threats may affect you:
- Trojan horses
Install malware on any device that automatically connects to a WiFi network by hackers. Some malware is created with this goal in mind. You risk having your passwords stolen or being held hostage by ransomware if you use an insecure connection.
The most effective way to avoid the dangers of malware distribution is to protect your firewall and anti-malware software. Because a VPN does not protect you from malware, this will go a long way toward keeping you safe from online threats.
However, I strongly advise against using public WiFi whenever possible. There is no way to know what security measures the company has put in place, and there is no legal requirement for them to do so.
5. Cyberattacks Against Companies
Business travelers and small business owners who connect their devices to unsecured public WiFi networks are likely targets for cyberattacks. Even with security measures, hackers can easily steal sensitive information from your laptop or smartphone.
Avoid these cyberattacks by using a VPN connection, which encrypts all data entering and leaving your device. Your Internet service provider may also be unaware of your online activities.
Because it requires an additional verification step (typically a code sent to your phone), two-factor authentication is an excellent way to protect your online accounts. Furthermore, keep your software up to date, as many recent cyberattacks exploited vulnerabilities in out-of-date software.
How to Secure Your Wireless Networks?
Fortunately, you can prevent cybercriminals from accessing your home WiFi network by taking a few simple precautions. Here are some essential tips for protecting your home WiFi network from unauthorized access.
Change Your Home Wifi’s Default Name
First, change the SSID (service set identifier), which is also the network name. A default SSID is assigned to all wireless routers by several manufacturers. Most of the time, it is the name of the company. A computer lists each network that broadcasts its SSID to the public when searching for and displaying nearby wireless networks. It increases the likelihood of a hacker gaining access to your network. Changing the network’s SSID to something that conceals personally identifiable information to divert hackers’ attention is preferable.
Password-Protect Your Wireless Network
The majority of wireless routers come with a default password pre-configured. Hackers can easily guess this default password, especially if they know the router’s manufacturer. Make your wireless network password at least 20 characters long, including letters, numbers, and symbols. If your password is more complex, hackers will have more difficulty accessing your network.
Make Network Encryption Active
Encryption capabilities are almost always included with wireless routers. The majority of routers, however, have it disabled by default. Enabling encryption on your wireless router will increase the security of your network. You must activate the router after your broadband provider has installed it. “WPA2” is the most recent and influential among the many encryption methods available.
Disable Broadcasting of the Network Name
It is strongly advised to disable network name broadcasting to the public when using a complete wireless solution router at home. Users in the area will see a list of available networks on their devices when attempting to connect to a WiFi network. However, if you disable name broadcasting, your network will be invisible, hiding your WiFi connection from users who are not looking for it.
This feature is helpful for businesses that want to provide wireless internet access to their customers, such as shops, libraries, hotels, and restaurants. Still, it is unnecessary for private wireless networks, such as your home WiFi network.
Update Router Software
A router’s firmware, like any other software, contains bugs that, if not promptly fixed by manufacturers’ firmware updates, can result in serious security vulnerabilities. Always use the most recent router software and download any new security patches as soon as they become available. It increases the chances of hackers being unable to access your WiFi network.
Make Sure Your Firewall Is Effective
“Firewalls” guard computers against malware, viruses, and other potentially harmful intrusions. Although wireless routers usually include firewalls, they are occasionally shipped with the firewalls disabled. Check that the wireless router’s firewall is turned on. If your router lacks such a firewall, you should install a reliable firewall program on your computer to prevent unauthorized wireless network access attempts.
A virtual private network (VPN) is a group of computers or networks communicating via the internet. Individuals can secure and encrypt their communications using VPNs such as Norton Secure VPN. When you connect to a VPN, your computer launches a VPN client.
When you log in and enter your credentials, your computer and the server exchange keys, encrypting and hiding all Internet communication from prying eyes. Install reputable security software, such as Norton Security, on all devices connected to your home network to keep viruses and spyware at bay.
I am all too familiar with the delights of free WiFi. There are no data limits, and there is always access to the internet. It is, however, critical to understand the risks of using unsecured WiFi networks and to take precautions to ensure your safety. You can use free WiFi safely if you follow these guidelines.
Even if you possess all of these computers, they are useless if they are not secured. Therefore, you will require the assistance of an IT professional to secure your devices. Seven IT has the necessary personnel to fulfill your request; please contact them immediately for more information.