Most People Unaware of Public Wi-Fi Dangers
Someone is out at a coffee shop with their laptop and is looking to connect to the Internet. So he or she check for Wi-Fi networks that are available. While many of them have padlocks indicating they are password-protected, there is one that is public. The person selects this one because their is no hassle to get the credentials to get on the other, secured hotspots. However, what he or she doesn’t realize is they could be setting themselves up for attacks by computer hackers. CBS affiliate WMMT found that many who use public Wi-Fi choose convenience over security.
In fact, many are hoping that there is a hotspot that doesn’t require a password so they can hop on and do what they need to do quickly. The problem is that their computer becomes much easier to be compromised by a computer virus or hacker. This is especially true if the user is typing in personal information that can be stolen.
“You type in a password, you type in a social security number, you might as well have yelled it to the cashier,” said Ryan Noble, a network engineer with Noble Networks.
If someone absolutely needs to use a public Wi-Fi hotspot, he or she shouldn’t enter in any personal information and should use as many sites as possible that have secure browsing options.
Wi-Fi Security Education is Necessary
As public hotspots around the globe pop up on a daily basis, there becomes an increasing need to inform citizens about the dangers of using them. According to News24, two South African cities are worrying about Wi-Fi security as they roll out hotspots for the general public to use.
The source reported that many security experts in the country want there to be more education about the dangers of cybercriminals and the damage they can do to PCs connected to the public Wi-Fi network, such as stealing personal information.
“Frequently, the cost of the service is kept to a minimum by eliminating ‘extras’ – like effective security,” security consultant Jonas Thulin stated. “In addition, many people who will now be using the internet for the first time as a result of the free access, may not have been informed about the risks of cybercrime, and so could be vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and abuse.”
Not only is education important, having good antivirus software when protecting a computer on a Wi-Fi network is a must. System Shield from iolo technologies offers anti-spyware and antivirus engines that can detect malicious behaviors as well as known threat definitions, and block them from your computer.