Perils of Public WiFi and Safety Measures

It feels great to catch up on life and the rest of the world after a long week on a Sunday afternoon at a café. What makes this experience better is the café’s hotspot where you immediately connect your device. However, the perils of using public wifi are not something that comes to mind right away. We often ignore or are unaware of the security breach that happens when we use public wifi.

What is Public Wifi About?

Public Wifi is the free internet connection available in public places like stations, airports, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, bookstores, etc. Its ubiquitous influence on thousands of people who connect their devices to these hotspots is even more pronounced over the years. Though surfing the internet using free-of-cost public wifi appears to be innocuous on the surface, the network is usually not discreet or safe.

Related: Worldwide Data Protection Laws: Regions Under Scanner

Why Stay Alert While Using It?

Most public wifi services are not properly encrypted. Any personal data or sensitive information stored in the connected devices is liable to be misused if hacked. There won’t be any way to recover from the multidimensional damage caused. Apart from malware distribution such as viruses and Trojans, the risks of pilferage run high when users log in to personal accounts or have financial information stored in the device. When the unencrypted wifi connection gets compromised, its user’s login credentials, pictures, and bank details could be made public. Sometimes hackers in disguise may lure you into a free hotspot with a name that is almost similar to a business owner’s public wifi you wish to avail and misuse your private information or even blackmail you. Other people using the same connection might be able to eavesdrop and get access to your private information when you log in to websites or banks such as email documents, messages, bank details, etc. So it is essential to be alert while using such public services.

Related: En Route Decentralization of Internet Governance to Preserving Democracy

Dos and Don’ts of Using Public Wifi

Some safety measures to secure personal information and protect the personal device while obtaining public wifi:

It is essential to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to convert the connection to private. Other do’s include logging out from accounts as soon as the work is over, disabling file sharing, only using secure websites, etc.  

The things not to do while using a public Wifi include not leaving device Bluetooth or Wifi on when not using, logging into networks that aren’t password-protected, accessing bank accounts or social security information, etc. 

To Connect or Not to Connect To Public Wifi

That is a question of whether it is safe to avail public wifi. Cautionary measures ascertain security to a great extent. And to follow the precautions is to refrain from using the service in many domains. However, it is better not to use public wifi for any official work that involves the transmission of sensitive information.

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