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The dangers of public WiFi and hotspots

Everyone always wants to be online everywhere. When we just landed for a lovely holiday, we can’t wait to check Facebook. Quickly withdrawing some money from one account and wiring it to another during shopping abroad. Yes, public WiFi networks are surely a great invention. But have we stopped to think about the dangers that come with it? Is it really such a smart idea to start Internet banking on a public WiFi network? In this article we explain the dangers of public WiFi networks and how you can protect yourself against these dangers.

Public WiFi networks

In all likelihood we could say that everyone has made use of a public WiFi network at least once. As soon as you settled down in a restaurant on your holiday, having a quick look if there is a WiFi, and when it is there you ask the waiter/waitress for the password. And during trips to send some photos to the folks at home. Everywhere in the world, there are free Internet hotspots available, free to use. What we however never think about, is that these are not secured.

What are the dangers of public WiFi and hotspots?

An unsecured network is in fact any public network that doesn’t require a password of login details. Due to the fact that everyone has easy access to the Internet with this network, the users are vulnerable to hackers. These try to steal your passwords, credit card details or personal info through the unsecured network that you use. However, other dangers can also occur:

Malware: Through the unsecured network, malware can easily be transmitted to your computer. This can give an attacker access to everything on your PC. From important documents to photos.

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: This type of attack occurs when someone with bad intentions eavesdrops on the communication between two people. This is very easy to achieve through an unsecured network and this way you can follow the conversation without the sender and receiver knowing anything about it.

Fake networks: A hacker can also setup a fake WiFi network with the intention to make unsuspecting users connect to it. When you just want to sit down quietly to check your Facebook or send a photo, it could be that you are very vulnerable to the hackers.

Unfortunately this problem doesn’t seem to bother a lot of Internet users. And yet, anyone can easily access the website that you visit, your location, the files that you send and your passwords. This is a very dangerous problem, seeing as as most people make use of a public WiFi network to check their emails, share photos on social media or even to make payments.

How do you protect yourself on a public WiFi network?

It can be particularly frightening to realize that you might have been at risk on public WiFi networks. Does this mean you should never use a public WiFi network again? No. After all, there are a number of ways to secure yourself against cyber crime. Making use of a VPN might just be the best way to ensure that you can make use of a public WiFi network without needing to worry. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network is basically a secured Internet connection that is established on an existing network. Making use of a VPN allows you to access that public network anonymously and ensures that you are invisible to any hackers.

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