Why can available Wi-Fi hotspots be dangerous?

What do they have access to if you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, find out below. 

The internet is a vast world, but also something that offers you instant access to information. More important though is the fact that it allows you to connect from everywhere, work in cafes, and be a digital nomad. There has been an increase in public Wi-Fi networks, meaning the ones that do not require authentication to access the network. 

Even though they ease the life of many people, they come with some threats to your online safety and security. Many people are not aware of these threats posed by using a public Wi-Fi network, but some hackers are waiting exactly for this moment. What do they have access to if you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, find out below. 

Intercepting the Information You Send 

Many people work in cafes or public spaces and choose to connect their laptops to available Wi-Fi hotspots or public networks. We live in an era when you rely heavily on the use of the internet to complete your tasks, so having so many available Wi-Fi hotspots can seem like a dream. 

Because public networks do not require any authentication, hackers can position themselves between you and the final point. This means that all the information, files, data, and everything you send online, will be intercepted. It may not seem much at the moment, but you may send sensitive data in those files hackers can later use, say experts from assignment help UK

Identity Theft 

One of the most common things that could happen is identity theft. Because hackers are intercepting all the data you send, they can get access to essential information about you. For example, you might send data about your credit card through an email to the bank customer service. If you are connected to an available Wi-Fi hotspot, they can easily intercept it. The information can be used to your disadvantage, identity theft being the most common of all. 

Distributing Malware

Distributing Malware
Distributing Malware

There has been a recent increase in the number of public institutions, companies, or businesses that have been hacked. The thing is, hackers have become quite ingenious and they come up with new ideas on how to convince you to install malware on your computer. They can do this easily if you access a public Wi-Fi network that allows unprotected file sharing. 

Moreover, they have recently found the means to show you a pop-up that asks you to update or install a popular software program. But it is malware and many people fall into this trap, making hackers more and more successful in their attempts. Hackers are good at identifying the vulnerabilities of computers and laptops and designed specific malware that exploits those vulnerabilities. 

So, it seems that there are quite a few reasons and things you should consider before deciding to join an available public Wi-Fi network. So, what can you do to add extra layers of protection? Which are the recommendations? Find them below. 

Use VPN 

Use VPN
Use VPN

Thankfully, technology is developing more and more and experts are developing ways to protect you from hackers’ attacks. If you need to use an available Wi-Fi hotspot, then it would be wise to use a VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it allows you to mask your IP address. This means that everything you do online goes through a strong encryption process that protects you from hackers’ attacks. The decryption process takes too long and it is too complicated, so hackers will try to find another target. 

Do Not Allow Sharing 

Depending on your operating system, there are some things you need to do when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network. Before connecting to it, you will be asked if you want to allow sharing, which you need to turn off. You may be needed to complete this step in your control panel, but this depends on which operating system you use. However, you should know that if you allow sharing while you are connected to an available Wi-Fi hotspot, it is dangerous. Why? Because you basically grant hackers access to everything you do and send online. 

Turn Off Wi-Fi When You Do Not Need It 

We are used to being always connected to the internet and the online world. However, we do not use the internet all the time, so take a look at your working habits. If you want to work from a public cafe or park and need to connect to an available Wi-Fi hotspot, you could turn it off when you do not need it. Being prudent is wise, especially in these cases when your personal documents and information are at stake. Of course, how much access hackers have to other laptops or devices connected to the public network depends on the router too. But it would be better to not risk it.

Know the Difference Between “HTTPS” and “HTTP”

For someone who is not tech-savvy, the difference between “HTTPS” and “HTTP” might be just that missing “s”. But it is important and knowing the difference between them can help you add an extra layer of protection when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network. Tech experts advise people to browse online websites that start with “HTTPS” when they connect to an available Wi-Fi hotspot. This is because they are more secure and your activity on the website is encrypted, adding an extra layer of protection you much need. There is an extension you can install to your computer that will require all websites you want to access to connect through “HTTPS”, increasing your safety online. 

Privacy Screens 

If you use your laptop in a public space and you don’t stay in a remote corner, people will be wandering and moving behind your back. This means that your screen will be easily visible to them. When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, you may think about the dangers that are in the online world. But your data can be stolen when you aren’t even aware of it, so it would be better to add another layer of protection. A privacy screen blackens your display. So, it means that you will be the only one seeing your screen.

Ending Note 

However accessible and easy would be to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you should know that this can be dangerous. Hackers are looking for easy targets and they can intercept the information you send online and use it for their own purpose. Make sure you take precautionary measures and add as many extra layers of security as you can. There will be moments when you simply cannot avoid connecting to an available Wi-Fi hotspot, so it is better to be prepared. 

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Opal Miyamoto
Opal Miyamoto is a freelancer and a blogger from the United States. She is very friendly and communicative. Opal is always open to new connections. Her hobbies are cooking, painting, traveling, and writing of course.

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