Public Wi-Fi hotspots are usually unsecured, as they are intended for users to easily connect to them. Information such as emails sent using unsecured wireless transmissions are usually not encrypted, making it easy for the data to be intercepted.

How can public Wi-Fi hotspots be exploited?

  • Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) Attack is where a hacker gets in between two computers and intercepts or modifies communication between them.
  • Rogue Wi-Fi Networks – A hacker sets up fake networks that masquerade as legitimate networks to steal information from unsuspecting users who connect to it.
  • Packet Sniffers are readily-accessible tools that hackers use to intercept any information sent over unsecured Wi-Fi.

Best practices

  • Avoid connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi in favour of a secured home or office network.
  • It is not advisable to allow automatic connections to a wireless network. Always turn off the Wi-Fi on your device after use, to prevent connecting to unknown networks automatically.
  • When using a free Wi-Fi hotspot, confirm the Wi-Fi network name with the business owner.
  • When using public Wi-Fi hotspots, do not enter sensitive information such as online banking passwords, credit or debit card details, email addresses or social media logins.
  • Use https:// instead of http:// when accessing your email or making an online transaction. This ensures that your communication is secure and your data will not be easily intercepted.
  • If you really want maximum security, it is best to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Tags: Connecting to Public Wi-Fi Hotspots