According to the 2017 Norton Wi-Fi Risk Report consumers are unable to resist a strong, free Wi-Fi signal. 60% feel their personal information is safe when using public Wi-Fi, yet 53% can’t tell the difference between a secure or unsecure public Wi-Fi network.
There is no doubt that, for ease, most of us would do whatever it takes to spend the whole day connected to the internet. It has become an essential tool to get updates on the go and be more accessible to family, friends and colleagues.
We mostly connect to the internet on the go from a mobile phone, a tablet and even a laptop. We use these devices in our favourite coffee shops, hotels, airports and many more places that are home to public Wi-Fi networks. Despite this becoming a selling point for local shops and restaurants, many people have fallen victim to cyber crime due to unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
The problem with connecting to a public network is the fact that anyone can connect to these networks, including cyber criminals. Attackers can setup their own Wi-Fi network in an attempt to lure suspecting users and run off with all their personal information and credentials to sell off for a profit.
The easiest way for cyber criminals to exploit your information is positioning themselves between you and the web server. This tactic is often known as the “man-in-the-middle” attack where hackers can gain access to information from the websites you visit, passwords you have used, transaction and emails. Many users fail to have strong passwords and are even more vulnerable for attack.
There are steps that can be put into place to help prevent you from being an unsuspecting victim of cyber crime. You can ask staff or management more information on the Wi-Fi provider to ensure that you’re using the correct network and the procedure to log in for your device is secure and safe.
It’s also important to install the latest software and app updates on your devices and use a strong and separate password for your email account (tip: use three random words). Avoid clicking on suspicious links and never use unsecure Wi-Fi providers to transfer financial information or any confidential details.
For more advice on ways to be more secure online, visit the National Cyber Security Centre website: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/information-for/individuals-families