We are all guilty of sometimes or the other using the free airport lounge Wi-Fi for watching videos or browsing while waiting for our flights. And while we are growing more and more attached to our mobile phone and all the various apps, the inherent dependence on internet and wifi is simply unavoidable. But using the free wifi networks available at public places might not be the best idea. After reading these few things that can go wrong using a public wifi, we are sure you will rather switch to roaming data charges. Here are 10 reasons why you should not use public Wi-Fi.
1. Man In Middle (MiM)attacks-
One of the most vulnerable situations that a user of a wi fi network can be put to is when he is under a MiM attack. It is basically a eavesdropping attack where a hacker is monitoring every data that you exchange with the network. He intercepts every bit of information that is transferred from you which can even contain sensitive information like bank details and addresses and passwords. This can make your system even vulnerable and compromised.
2. Cloning of important websites-
Hackers sometimes clone out an important website making a completely identical copy on almost the same address. They divert your traffic to the cloned website that looks completely legit and steals all your user name and password data. You would not even realize how easily you have just handed over your most important data to the hacker.
A lot of times, for ease of remembering, we end up keeping one single password for a lot of websites. By using the free public wi-fi if one of our passwords is leaked and intercepted by the hacker, he can try out the same password and gain access to your mailbox. A lot of time he stays low key and remotely monitors your account from time to time, till he spots a piece of information he can exploit. At that point he can also change all your other account passwords with the help of your mail box access he has and lock you out of your own account.
4. Remote Criminal activity-
Using a free wi-fi can facilitate the hacker to do various innovative criminal activities using your system. The worse part is that you will be framed as these activities are traceable to the device. An example of it is a hacker downloading pedophilic content using your phone, but since, child pornography is a crime, you can face the repercussions.
A lot of times using the free Wi-fi in a cafe may not be the best idea, as these cafe employees just set up a low security non encrypted access point for the customers as they do not have much technical know how. These access points are very easy to break and gain entry into and make you an easy prey to MiM attacks.
6. Rogue Networks-
Not always are “free park wifi” or “Free station wifi” the actual public use wifi available. These are fake networks created by hackers for you to log in to, so that they can easily gain access to all your sensitive data. Always be aware to such rogue networks that do not seem legit. Abstain from connecting to the free wifi and fall prey to this trap .
7. Unsafe and poor apps-
A lot of apps that we use are not well developed and lack proper security walls and protocols. These apps while installing achieve basic phone or computer access and rights. The hackers can break the weaker apps on your phone and get all the permissions for transferring sensitive data back to them for exploitation.
Tips to Protect Yourself In Public Networks-
- Always create a VPN (virtual private network). This creates a network within a network and keeps all your information encrypted.
- Never use Public Wifi to shop online this can reveal your credit/debit card details to the hacker.
- Never log in to your online banking accounts from public wifis. It makes your account information, passwords vulnerable to attack. Especially for financial gains.
- Always use HTTPS encrypted websites on free public wifi. They offer better protection.
- Turn off the “Auto connect to free wifi” option of your phone. This will prevent it from logging into insecure and rogue networks.
- Enable two step verification for login in your important accounts. This will prevent the hacker in gaining complete access to your data easily.
- Shut off the “auto Update App on Wifi” option on your phone. It can make you download malicious content and even Malware.