Free public Wi-Fi can be incredibly convenient but it is not always safe.
Recently, a new authentication vulnerability was identified in the firmware of routers that are used in hotels around the world.
This means that new files can be written to the routers and then potentially all connected machines (meaning hotel guests) could become infected.
Public Wi-Fi is not a new risk as these networks are unencrypted and send all your data in clear text, unless of course the website you are visiting offers encryption.
Why does it matter that your data is unencrypted? Imagine all your regular mail arriving at your home written only on postcards so that anyone in the delivery chain could read them. It would be a huge invasion of your privacy and unacceptable.
The risk is similar but you just can’t see that it was all sent for others to read, should they be so inclined.
Stay safe while using public Wi-Fi
- When using public Wi-Fi in cafés, airports, hotels, or even when visiting a place of work that has guest Wi-Fi, you should always be cautious on which services you use while connected.
- Whenever possible, use a virtual private network (VPN). This will encrypt the data being send over the public Wi-Fi network that you are connected to, or in other words, it will put your mail back in envelopes.
- Many scammers set up fake Wi-Fi networks to conduct what is known as a “man in the middle attack.” If you are in a hotel or airport, make sure you are using the legitimate free Wi-Fi service.
For more tips on keeping your data safe while using public Wi-Fi, check out the infographic below.