Do you regularly work on the go and rely on WiFi hotspots?
The secure use of WiFi hotspots is important for both business and personal safety. If you are working outside of your home or office and require WiFi on the go, make sure you know what you are connecting to. Some WiFi hotspots can be a lifeline if you have an important deadline or need to contact someone using an app. However, not all networks or hotspots that you have the opportunity of accessing, are secure. ‘Evil Access Points’ and ‘Sniffing’ are two forms of cyber-attacks you could put yourself or your business at risk of becoming victim to.
Evil Access Points
Cybercriminals set up fake WiFi hotspots usually with common or generic names such as ‘free_wifi’ or ‘coffeeshop_wifi’. The promise of free WiFi is bait to lure in an unsuspecting victim. Once connected the criminals will monitor network traffic from your device, intercept and modify traffic (‘man in the middle’ attack), try to steal any passwords, and scan your device for any more vulnerabilities they can exploit.
Even when you connect to a legitimate WiFi hotspot it can still be insecure if not setup correctly. Criminals exploit this and monitor network traffic for anything of value. Whether you type them manually, have auto-saved logins or you are already logged in, every time you use or open social media, emails etc the data (and security tokens) are continuously being sent over any WiFi hotspots that you connect to. Data can be intercepted and stolen. Stolen data such as passwords, login details and bank information is sold on for use by other criminals.
Things to watch out for
- Common names like ‘cafe_free_wifi’ – check it’s the real WiFi
- WiFi hotspots without password access (unencrypted)
- Alerts such as “This network isn’t secure. Do you want to continue?”
Protect yourself and your business
- Restrict your activity – if you can, try not to do anything confidential such as online banking when using public WiFi and avoid entering any passwords
- 4G- if you are really unsure whether you can trust the public WiFi, stick to 4G/3G on your mobile, tablet or laptop. Anything transferred over 3G/4G is encrypted
- Create your own WiFi Hotspots using your mobile data. Click here to find out how
- VPN-(Virtual Private Network) When accessing public WiFi, you can use a cloud VPN connection to ensure that data transferred across the network is encrypted. VPN apps can be downloaded on to your devices. Click here to follow the guide on VPNs for mobile devices