Free Wi-Fi is the Best! (…right?)

by | Jul 2, 2019

Many people don’t think twice about logging into a free Wi-Fi hotspot; they whip out their notebook or mobile device, look for a Wi-Fi network with a strong signal and connect.

Did you know that Wireless Networks are targets for hackers and identity thieves? 

Yes, even coffee shops and hotels! Just because it’s a “familiar” brand, don’t assume it’s safe. 

A recent example is while I was traveling; I asked the employee in the Delta Lounge, which of the four available networks was included in my membership level? 

The four options were: 

1. Delta Gold

2. Delta Preferred

3. Delta Loyalty

4. Delta Elite

Answer: None of the above! They were all fake! She went on to say that rogue, un-affiliated networks is a massive problem for them and other businesses located within the airport.

So What Do You Do?

1. Ensure your firewall is enabled on your Windows or Mac. This is a bad habit for many users; they disable the firewall because it is interfering with something they are trying to do, or is a little slower—wrong decision.

2. Only connect to legitimately provided Wi-Fi Hotspots. We even recommend asking—not assuming, the options you see are legit, as in my Delta example.

3. Never use public Wi-Fi for shopping or online banking. You are far better off using your data from your phone provider network.

4. Never allow your devices to “automatically connect” to available networks. This common mistake is a hacker’s delight!

5. Always allow your devices to be updated regularly, per your organization’s policies. Gartner estimates over 400 new malware (and related) threats are created every day.

Developing the habits above will help you to operate safer when using public Wi-Fi. Just know, there are dozens of other methods that hackers use to compromise your devices, intercept your data, and track your location and usage. 

To learn more about your risks and steps you can take to become more secure, please give us a call!