How often do you find yourself using public Wi-Fi? It seems like the perfect little treat while enjoying a hot beverage at a coffee shop. A coffee with a side of free Wi-Fi, why yes please!
People always love free things, but connecting to these free networks may be costing you more than you think. Did you know that as you sit there roaming through the internet, hackers can be accessing your information, and stealing your personal data right from your phone. In one alarming study, done by security expert Jason Hart, it shows how easy it is for violators to override the free Wi-Fi you are connected to and force you to connect to theirs without you even knowing it. This leaves you vulnerable and exposed, as these violators are free to access all your information such as bank accounts, email accounts, home address, etc.
Who are these villains with these special devices that can suck the information straight out of your phone? Well they can be anyone, even a 7 year old girl. Betsey Davies, who was part of an experiment conducted by security expert Marcus Dempsey, was able to hack into a Wi-Fi hotspot in just 11 minutes. I know what you might be thinking; this 7 year old is a genius! Well as bright as she may be, it is not that hard these days to get all the information you may need from the internet. Betsey Davies was able to find tutorials online walking her through the whole process.
If a 7 year-old child can do this so easily, think about what an expert hacker can do. The best to avoid the possible damage of public Wi-Fi’s is to avoid using them. But if you cannot, there are a couple of ways you can protect yourself if you still want to take a chance with public Wi-Fi.
- For one turn of all sharing on your device.
- Do not conduct any online tasks that require your personal information such as banking.
- Activate your firewall.
- Turn off Wi-Fi when you are not suing it.
- Only use the public Wi-Fi if it’s a legitimate source.
- Encrypt any sensitive files.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN).