Public Wi-Fi networks allow us to access the Internet for free; A perfect solution if you want to save data on your mobile rate or work from your computer when you are out of reach of your router (for example on vacation). However, these connections also present risks. Do you know the dangers of connecting to a public Wi-Fi? Learn the keys to protect yourself.
3 Great dangers of connecting to a public Wifi
Are you away from home and looking for an Internet connection? Many establishments offer the Wifi password to their customers as one more service. In the same way, municipalities and institutions have a generalized Internet connection in commercial areas, public transport, or tourist areas.
Have you ever connected to these free Wi-Fi services? Sure you do, but do you know the dangers of connecting to a public Wifi? Do you know what you can and what not to share or to which pages it is better that you do not access this type of connection? Beware of these risks:
1- Theft of data and files
Without a doubt one of the main dangers of connecting to a Public Wifi is that our data and the files that we store on our devices are within the reach of an undetermined number of users. How can your data be stolen when you are using a Public Wifi?
- ‘Man-in-the-middle’ attacks: This type of cyber attack could be translated as a ‘man in the middle’ attack and is directly related to the dangers of connecting to a public Wifi. What does it consist of? Basically, someone intercepts the communication between your computer and the Wi-Fi network. In this ‘journey’, your data is exposed and can be seen by this ‘Man in the middle’ who takes advantage of the lack of encryption of this type of connection.
- Fake Wifi Connections: So simple that any user with basic computer knowledge can do it. It is enough to create a Wifi network with the name of a commercial premises or that pretends to be a public service, leave it open and start receiving connections from users whose data is exposed.
- Data packet capturers: Another of the dangers of connecting to a public Wifi is to steal your files through software programs for capturing and analyzing data from connected devices ( Sniffer) . If you do not gain security, cybercriminals can use these programs to keep relevant files and keys.
2- Infection of the devices
If you are concerned about the theft of your data, you should not overlook another of the great dangers of connecting to a public Wifi: the infection of your device with malware. This risk is especially high when we use our smartphone or tablet to connect to a public Wi-Fi and we do not take into account basic security measures in aspects such as downloading applications or the use of messaging services such as WhatsApp.
In the same way, a public Wifi can be the entrance door so that, if you do not use the basic prevention measures, your computer equipment becomes part of a botnet network.
The routes of infection are very similar to those of data theft, but in this case, the lack of security and encryption of public Wi-Fi is used to infect your device with malware.
3- Identity theft
Derived from the previous two, identity theft is another of the great dangers of connecting to public Wi-Fi. The worst of this risk is that, if you do not take precautions, you will encounter a problem that can affect your social media profiles, your email accounts or, in the worst case, your bank balance.
Remember, when you connect to a public Wifi, your data is exposed to the entire network of computers that share the connection and, therefore, can be used to pose as you and contract services, make payments
Keys to avoid the dangers of connecting to a public Wifi
Do you know how to avoid the dangers of connecting to a public Wifi? Remember that on the Internet, the best security system is you. Many of these risks can be avoided with responsible behavior and the right tools. Do you know how to protect yourself?
- The first advice is that, unless it is very necessary, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, especially those that do not require an entry key. In the case that they have it, bet on those that have a WPA or WPA2 encryption system (you will see it before entering the key) and completely discard those that have a WEP encryption.
- Disconnect the Wi-Fi connection from your smartphone if you are not going to use it. Otherwise, every time you go through a connection point you will be accessing your data and, consequently, you will be exposed to the dangers of connecting to a public Wifi.
- If you connect to your computer to a public Wifi (with or without a password), remember to delete the connection data and do not remember them on your computer. Otherwise you are opening the door to cybercriminals who can use the connection data to enter your computer.
- Avoid risky connections. If one of the great dangers of connecting to a public Wi-Fi is in the lack of encryption of the data, imagine if you also access pages that do not have the minimum security protocol or https: //
- Much of the dangers of connecting to a public Wifi are based on our behavior. Avoid making online payments, access social networks unless necessary, save passwords, update applications, or download them to your mobile phone or tablet …
- Do not connect to a public Wifi if your device is outdated or you do not have your firewalls or antivirus activated and in perfect working order. Any security breach will be used to access your equipment.
- On your smartphone or tablet, disable the option to update and automatically synchronize your APPs when you connect to a Wifi. Your device will update your programs because it does not know that you are in a public Wifi. Be careful with this.
- Activate two-step verification to access your email accounts. This security recommendation is basic but much more if you want to avoid the dangers of connecting to a public Wi-Fi.
- If you have no choice but to connect to a public Wifi, you can avoid the dangers that come with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection with which you will be able to encrypt your data, despite using this type of connection.
- All these commandments can be summed up in one: apply common sense and keep in mind the dangers of connecting to a public Wi-Fi. Saving data can be very expensive.