Are you among those who use to connect to public WiFi? If yes, then you need to think before you do so next time.
Many times you might have heard that you should not open your bank account, email account or any secured account in public. But what is the actual risk of opening such sites in public WiFi?
Usually, your private WiFi (such as home WiFi) is encrypted and hence it is secured, but the public WiFi like the one you use at a coffee shop is unsecured and is being used by many people and are monitored. So such public WiFi is not secured to use unless you know how to protect yourself from such risk.
Here in this article, I will be taking about three main risks of using public WiFi.
3 Main risks of browsing in public
Here are the three important risks you need to take care while browsing in public WiFi:
#1. Unencrypted Browsing Is Public
As you know, WiFi uses radio waves for connection and so anyone can see what you are doing in the WiFi range, if they have the correct tool to capture.
That means, if your connection is unencrypted then you are facing the risks below:
- Anyone can see what you are checking out
- What information you are transferring
- Your account information and credentials
- What you are storing
Public WiFis are not in your control (there is no encryption) so try to avoid checking your accounts and just use it for the normal browsing purpose.
But still, sites having SSLs (URL starting with https instead of default HTTP) are safe to use as it encrypts data while transformation and so is safe to use in public WiFi as well. Also, using a VPN can also work well.
Almost all top sites and the site which involves transactions are using SSLs nowadays.
#2. May get Virus Attack
In public WiFi, there is a risk of virus attack as well. There is a chance that the another person using the same network is using the system without any anti-virus and thus keeping your system at risk.
As you can’t control others what they are using and so the better turnaround is to make your system safer.
The best thing you can do for this is, make sure your firewall is in active mode while surfing on public WiFi network.
When you connect to any new network, your system will display the below network popup and the best practice is to select the public network here.
This setting will turn off your local file sharing and restrict any vulnerability.
#3. Save yourself from Traps
Sometimes a free WiFi network might be a trap. Someone might be creating a public network to capture your personal and sensitive data.
Creating a public WiFi network or hotspot is neither hard and nor expensive, and so hackers do such stuff very frequently.
If you see networks with the name “Free WiFi” or “Open WiFi” or something like a free download, then try not to connect. Such networks won’t ask for any username and password and also won’t show you any welcome screen or home screen of the network.
In such network, if you will log in to your account then that might be risky. Especially the hackers create the fake version of common sites like Facebook, Gmail, etc. and when you think you are logging in to the correct site, you provides information to the fake sites.
The best practice is to not connect to such network and avoid logging in.
These were some of the common risks of using public WiFi. Let me also share some cautions while using a public network.
Precautions you should take to be safe
Here are some of the precautions you should take care if you are browsing on a public WiFi network-
- Use VPN (virtual private network)
- Use SSL Connections – Make sure websites you are using and logging in are using SSLs
- Turn Off Sharing
- Keep your WiFi off when not in use
- Keep your password strong
These were some of the major and common risks of using public WiFi network and the common practice while using public Wifi.
If you aren’t alert, then you might face some huge loss regarding the account, data, and sensitive information.
I would love to know what precautions you take while browsing in public.