Thursday, April 3, 2014

170- A Public WiFi Network Is An Insecure Network!

A Public WiFi Network Is An Insecure Network!

A Public WiFi Network Is An Insecure Network!

It is common sense not to do your online banking over a public WiFi, but have you ever stopped and asked yourself: shouldn't online banking be secure - it is encrypted, after all? The sad, and somewhat scary truth is that it doesn't matter! Your favorite online retailer may boast with "secure online shopping experience", but that doesn't mean that you should go online shopping for your new shoes while drinking cappuccino in a cafe.

There are three main reasons why public and unsecured WiFi hotspots can be dangerous: since the network is open, there is always the possibility of "snooping"; only one compromised machine could compromise the whole network; and even the hotspot itself could be malicious.

Never send any kind of sensitive personal or business information over a public or unsecured WiFi hotspot - ever! If, in order to access a website, you need to log in - wait until you can do so over a secure connection. Don't let malicious hackers trick you into connecting to a fake hotspot that, at a glance, resembles those offered at cafes or other public places, but is set up for their nefarious purposes. Always verify the name of the WiFi network you are about to connect to!

So-called "man in the middle" attacks, which are using public WiFi networks, are becoming the favorite method of malicious hackers' attacks. Even the European Parliament had to turn off its public WiFi system after discovering that it was being used in the "man in the middle" cyber attacks! The misuse of public or unsecured WiFi networks, in order to steal information such as credit card numbers and passwords, is on the rise as well.

Sometimes, using public WiFi networks - such as those available in your hotel room, or at the airport - is simply unavoidable. Consider signing up for a VPN (virtual private network) service! VPN service works by routing all your communication - which it encrypts - through a physical server owned by the VPN provider, before it reaches the web. The VPN, therefore, acts as a middleman, or a physical barrier, between you and the rest of the internet!

Without an additional layer of security that VPN provides, anyone with access to the network can intercept the traffic from a device you use to connect to the internet. When you are using a VPN, no one can see the websites you visit, and data that you submit. Since your information is virtually untraceable, you are invisible to the prying eyes!

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