What is Public Wi-Fi Security?

The “Work from anywhere movement” is growing and so are the risks of using public wi-fi networks.

It’s easy to find free wi-fi networks in libraries, airports, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, malls, and other public venues. 

Users who are connected to public wi-fi networks may be unaware that they may be accidentally sharing secret, critical or sensitive information that could end up in the hands of a skilled hacker exploring a number of wi-fi threats

 

Risks of using public wi-fi networks

  • Installation of malware, viruses and worms.
  • Rogue network or access point that is installed on a networks’s infrastructure without the administrator’s knowledge. This security breach disguises itself as a legitimate wi-fi connection to trick users into connection to it. 
  • Encryption-free connection which allow hackers to monitor all file sharing and traffic between the user and the server on a public wi-fi network.
  • Network snooping which allows hackers to remotely monitor activity on a third-party’s laptop. This may include credit card numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information. 
  • Log-in credential vulnerability cause by weak and predictable passwords.
  • Fake system update alerts with data-exfiltration capabilities designed to steal information from smart phones.
  • Session hijacking allowing cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to data on a network user’s device.

How to Ensure Public Wi-Fi Security?

 

  • Set up a VPN (virtual private network) with end-to-end encryption.
  • Turn off wi-fi auto-connect and bluetooth discoverability settings to prevent hackers from gaining undetected peer-to-peer access.
  • Ensure that remote employees have firewall enabled on all their devices.
  • Use mobile hotspots provided by mobile carriers in lieu of public unencrypted wi-fi networks.
  • Use strong, unique passwords that include letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Educate employees on the dangers of public wi-fi networks and how to protect themselves and company assets from malicious attacks. 

How to safely use public wi-fi? We have a simulation for that.