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The Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

These days, it's nearly impossible to find someone who isn't connected to the Internet. Public Wi-Fi networks have seen a rise in popularity as they offer an easy and convenient way to access the Internet in different places and have become an extremely common commodity in people's daily lives.


Some of the Dangers


Public Wi-Fi networks present a number of security risks that many users are unaware of, as they are the target of cybercriminals looking to steal personal and financial information. The threats are varied, which will cause damage. Below, each one of them:

  1. Man-in-the-middle attacks: Data that the user sends and receives that is related to himself can be intercepted by criminals who use techniques such as “sniffing” to monitor traffic network access and obtain confidential information.

  2. Malware: Public Wi-Fi networks are easy targets for the spread of malware such as viruses, trojans, and ransomware. When the user connects to this network, he will be exposed to all the aforementioned threats that result in device infection and information theft.

  3. Phishing: Hackers create fake public Wi-Fi networks and then send phishing emails and notifications to trick victims into sharing personal data or installing malware on their devices.

  4. Rogue Wi-Fi: Fraudulent Wi-Fi hotspots are created by hackers and named to look legitimate. When users connect to these hotspots, much of the data passed over them is exposed to whoever created the fraudulent Wi-Fi hotspot.

Through the threats mentioned above, criminals can gain access to data that is on the user's device and that are intended for other purposes, such as login and password, downloads made and any type of file.


In view of this, when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, great care is essential, even more so if the device is used for the user's work environment, as it will jeopardize the security of whatever it is related to the company.


How to Protect Yourself


Public Wi-Fi networks are a convenient and free way to access the Internet while away from home or work. At the same time, they are a breeding ground for cybercriminals accomplish what they most desire, so they tend to be insecure for that reason.

However, there are ways to help keep user information secure. They are:

  • Disable automatic connection: Prevent the device being used from being connected automatically. This will prevent the connection from being accidentally made to such a network that may be unreliable, and with that, information being exposed.

  • Use a VPN: A virtual private network, commonly known as a VPN, encrypts all internet traffic and sends it through a secure tunnel to the VPN server. This protects information from potential cybercriminals and prevents others from seeing what the user is doing online.

  • Use Secure passwords: Strong and different passwords for each internet account will help preserve private data in case one of those accounts is compromised. The connection to secure sites must have HTTPS at the beginning of the browser's address bar, as it indicates that the connection is secure and encrypted. If the site does not have it, do not provide any type of information.

  • Check the network: Make sure you are on the correct Wi-Fi network. Some hackers create fake networks that look official but are actually designed to steal data. Please confirm the correct network name.

  • Keep software up to date: Operating system and applications up to date with the latest versions. Updates often include security fixes that protect your device against vulnerabilities.

In short, public Wi-Fi networks offer convenience and internet connection for countless people, but they also present compromised security through various risks if care is not taken. To minimize them, the authenticity of the network before accessing it must be checked frequently, as well as following the measures for the total protection of private information.


Do you usually use public Wi-Fi? Let us know in the comments!

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