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Public WiFi is one of the blessings of the modern world. It means you can access the internet on your laptop or mobile device, without having to go through the complicated process of tethering it to your phone.
However, it comes with dangers, according to https://www.kaspersky.com/. When you use a public network, you are potentially compromising your security and privacy. Here are the risks you need to know about in 2023:
Cybercriminals often use public WiFi for phishing attacks where they try to trick users into entering sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. These usually occur when users enter what they think is a log-in screen. Instead of providing legitimate information to a trusted provider, they hand it over to phishers. Hackers then use this information to extract money or access other accounts that the user owns.
Another danger of public WiFi is the risk of malware distribution. Hackers can use routers to send viruses, spyware, and other unwanted programs to users’ computers, stealing sensitive information or clogging up their systems.
Malware distribution is relatively easy. It only requires users to download a single file or open an email.
Dangers of public WiFi: Rogue Hotspots
We are also witnessing the rise of rogue hotspots. Here, criminals set up WiFi nodes and then use them to steal users’ data. In many cases, they have similar names to legitimate networks nearby, creating even more confusion. Some have pay gates, but many don’t because the primary aim is to install dangerous software on users’ computers.
Transmitted Data Interception
As sites like https://postmogul.com/ point out, transmitted data interception is another major risk on public WiFi. Users may inadvertently let hackers gain access to their personal information whenever they use a public network.
Hackers achieve this by using interceptor technology. They can create artificial gates between computers and the internet, reading everything that travels through the network. These make it possible to steal login credentials, eavesdrop on online activity, and install malware on your devices.
Dangers of Public WiFi: Can You Protect Yourself On Public WiFi?
It is possible to protect yourself on public WiFi, but you will need to take precautions. Never use a public WiFi network that doesn’t have password protection or requires a login. Usually, it’s a honey-pot trap.
Also, if you browse using public WiFi, go via a VPN. These automatically encrypt your data and mask the source. They make it virtually impossible for anyone to see what you are doing online, even if they share a network with you.
You should also switch off file-sharing before logging on. Keeping it open tells your operating system to trust other computers in the network, allowing them to peer right into your device.
Never enter any sensitive information when using public WiFi. Do not use it for credit card purchases or signing up for a new service. Wait until you get home before you do that. Lastly, keep your device’s software up to date. New patches can protect you when using public WiFi against the latest threats.