Why Using Unsecured Wi-Fi Is Risky

Why Using Public or Unsecured Wi-Fi Is Risky

The internet is key to getting business done, connecting with others, and learning. Wi-Fi networks aren’t inherently wrong; it’s a matter of how the provider sets it up that should be of concern. But the eagerness to get things done, especially in public areas, can put your data at risk.

Public Wi-Fi is usually unsecured, meaning your device can easily connect to it and use it immediately. An unsecured Wi-Fi network has no encryption or security, so that data that moves within the network is exposed. A network should have a strong password that conforms to WPA or WPA2 standards to become secure. Public Wi-Fi is typically available in public spaces as a free service; you may find it at libraries, airports, coffee shops, malls, restaurants, and hotels.

Why Public Wi-Fi is Unsecured

There are several reasons why public Wi-Fi is unsecured. The provider doesn’t have the skills, capacity, or time to run maintenance most of the time. Think about it, do you believe the local coffee shop has an IT department? It isn’t very likely, and so their well-intentioned Wi-Fi service may not be entirely secure. Sometimes public Wi-Fi doesn’t have a password because it is too much work to give patrons when they request it.

If the airport Wi-Fi needed a password, then the IT department would need to create thousands of passwords daily and handle just as many queries to hand out one. So it is simpler to keep it open to anyone that connects to it. Free Wi-Fi is typically given as an add-on service to make the place more appealing. If any business makes public Wi-Fi hard to access, then it defeats the purpose of a seamless customer experience.

Some public networks require users to register to access a network and give standard information like email, name, or phone number. Providers could add a security layer to the network and reduce the anonymity that cybercriminals use as a shield. It would be best to be wary as cybercriminals can intercept that information and send unsolicited ads or malware.

The Risks of Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi usually is unsecured, and that brings risks with using them, such as:

Why Using Public Wi-Fi Is Risky

  • Man in the middle attacks, wherein a hacker can eavesdrop on your communications. When you connect to the internet, your device sends data from your device to a wireless network device, connecting you to the internet. If the connection isn’t secured, then a hacker can intercept and read your data.
  • Routers have a feature that can encrypt data, but that feature must turn it on. You will be vulnerable if the IT technician forgot or didn’t switch on the encryption feature. So using a public Wi-Fi hotspot is essentially you taking a chance on whether the IT department did its part or not.
  • Public Wi-Fi is a favorite hunting ground for snooping and sniffing by cybercriminals. They have the software (packet analyzer or packet sniffer) to help them find a public Wi-Fi spot and exploit its vulnerabilities to enable them to access your online activities.
  • Cybercriminals also use the human inclination to trust public hotspots by creating their rogue or malicious network. For example, if you are eating at Smith’s Restaurant, a hacker can create a “Smyth’s Restaurant” network, which you would assume belongs to the restaurant but doesn’t. If you log into a rogue or malicious hotspot, hackers can view your sensitive information.
  • Public Wi-Fi is also a standard malware distribution method. Cybercriminals can install viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, and adware using rogue or unsecured networks. If your device is compromised, you may need to schedule computer virus removal.

To avoid being vulnerable to attacks through public Wi-Fi, you can take the following steps:

  • Use virtual private network (VPN) software on your device to ensure your connection remains private.
  • Disable file sharing
  • Only use websites that have SSL certificates; their addresses start with “HTTPS,” the “s” means it’s secure.
  • Make sure you log out of all your accounts when you finish using the public Wi-Fi
  • Disable the “auto-connect to networks” feature in all your devices
  • Don’t leave your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on if you aren’t using them
  • Avoid accessing websites that carry sensitive information like your financial or health care accounts.
  • Avoid networks that aren’t password protected.

Stay off Public WI-FI 

Although they seem convenient, you should do your utmost best to stay off public Wi-Fi hotspots. If you need to use one, take precautions to safeguard your device and data. If you need to access sensitive private or work data, shift to mobile cell providers; they are more secure.

Article written by admin

By Profession, he is an SEO Expert. From heart, he is a Fitness Freak. He writes on Health and Fitness at MyBeautyGym. He also likes to write about latest trends on various Categories at TrendsBuzzer. Follow Trendsbuzzer on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.