Public WiFi Security Risks and Tips

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We live in a world where we expect public Wi-Fi access everywhere we go, whether it’s in your local coffee shop, the hotel your family is staying in, or the hardware store you’re walking through. What most of us don’t expect, however, is that these free and convenient Wi-Fi accesses can lead to major security risks.

Data sent through public Wi-Fi on your mobile phone and devices can be easily intercepted by cybercriminals.  Just think of recent news stories, from Target’s massive hack to the scandalous breaches on celebrities’ phones at the Oscars.  So, how can you stay safe from these risks? Take a look at these public WiFi security tips:

  1. Be Weary of Fake Public WiFi Names. Many times, fake Wi-Fi access will show up on your device with realistic titles like “Airport Wi-Fi” or “Hotel Wi-Fi.” Speak to an employee before connecting to a network to be sure it’s legitimate.
  2. Avoid Checking Sensitive Data. If possible, avoid accessing your social media, financial accounts, or email while connected to a public Wi-Fi network. As soon as you connect to a malicious Wi-Fi network, cybercriminals can instantly scan your device for information that they can exploit.
  3. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN is used as a “private tunnel” that encrypts your data that passes through the free Wi-Fi network. This will help prevent hackers lurking on the network from intercepting your data or planting viruses and malicious software. Find out how to get a VPN
  4. Turn off Wi-Fi when You’re Finished. Whenever Wi-Fi is enabled on your device, you run the risk of automatically connecting to networks as your device is constantly searching for a connection. The good news is that cybercriminals can only infiltrate Wi-Fi networks when they’re in the vicinity. So, whenever you’re not using a protected Wi-Fi network, be sure to turn off the Wi-Fi feature.  This can be hard to remember to do, but like anything else, habits are hard to break once you start them.
  5. Keep Up with the Latest Security Updates. Always be sure that your device has the latest security update installed. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Android are always renovating their systems to keep up with the latest vulnerabilities.  As new vulnerabilities are identified, they create these updates to combat the potential risks.
  6. Install HTTPS Everywhere. This free application is available on Firefox, Chrome and Opera, and it alerts you when a site you’re searching is unsafe.  There are similar applications out there, so do your research and find one that works best on your device.
  7. Contact your MSP for Help. Tier 1 Techs’ Miami IT support is available 24/7, around the clock for our valued clients. Our IT security services span complete network coverage, endpoints, vulnerability management, monitoring, and analysis. Tier 1 Techs provides superior, monitored and managed security services to your expanding network perimeter 24/7. Contact our team today for more tips to keep your devices safe from Wi-Fi vulnerabilities today!