Security Measures for Using Free Public Wi-Fi
Public networks at airports, coffee shops, and hotels can expose you to cyber threats or viruses. ExtremeVPN keeps you safe even on unprotected public Wi-Fi networks. Learn how!
How to Use a VPN for Accessing Public Wi-Fi Networks Securely?
Despite the popular misconception, public Wi-Fi networks can be exceedingly dangerous. How typical is it to connect to the Wi-Fi in your favorite coffee shop, the hotel you just checked in to, or the airport where you wait for your next flight? Learn the potential risks of using public connections and how ExtremeVPN can help you shield yourself from unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Top 6 Most Prominent Safety Risks of Using Public Wi-Fi Networks
Using unsecured networks poses different dangers to cybersecurity; connecting to a public Wi-Fi can make you a target for the following cyberattacks and criminal activities.
A Man-In-The-Middle attack is a virtual assault where a hacker sneaks into private commuting between two parties and alters the communication exchange result.
Although there might be several MITM attacks, the most popular is IP spoofing. In this attack, a hacker uses a fake web to trick the user into thinking they’re interacting with an authentic website in hopes of obtaining valuable information from the user, such as passwords or bank account details.
With the MITM technique, hackers can steal users’ personal information and supplant their identity. What they do is impersonate the subject of the attack expecting to gain profit from it. For instance, if they manage to collect financial information such as credit card details or bank account logins, they may empty the credit card or bank account balance by withdrawing or purchasing in the victim’s name.
Rogue Access Point
Also known as a Rogue Wi-Fi Network, it’s a wireless access point set on a secure network without the specific permission of the network’s administrator. Users who unknowingly connect to the net are subjects of identity theft and malicious infection of their devices.
Data Leak: When a user connects to an unsecured Wi-Fi network, all their information is vulnerable to data leaks from the network’s Wi-Fi router. It is possible for hackers to collect valuable data about users, such as financial data or personal content (photos, videos, etc.) from them for blackmailing.
It’s a typical thing for Wi-Fi administrators to use sniffer programs or packet sniffing to scrutinize all the traffic passing through the network. However, hackers take advantage of this by recording the sniffing program information for scamming purposes.
Malicious infection is a remarkably prevalent tactic that hackers use to steal valuable information from unprotected users. Through the Wi-Fi network, they spread infectious programs that hide in videos or pop-up ads. Clicking on any of these may immediately infect your device and compromise your data.
How Secure is Using a VPN When Connected to a Public Network?
Let’s imagine that when attempting to establish a connection to the Wi-Fi of the hotel you’re staying in, you instead unintentionally join a malicious Wi-Fi net. Hackers can access and modify without further security every unencrypted communication, and malicious programs can even sneak their way into your devices.
Nevertheless, with ExtremeVPN, you enjoy maximum protection against data reading, injection, and modification, thanks to tunneling encryption. On the other hand, it’s worth mentioning that virtual attackers can also utilize the MITM technique to bypass encryption and impersonate the websites you visit. In this case, this would allow them to intercept your communications without your awareness.
How to Prevent Cyberattacks via Wi-Fi?
Picture this! A hacker is using a packet sniffing application to attempt to hack your smartphone through your Wi-Fi connection. If the Wi-Fi network is unprotected, the hacker could access your communications in seconds, leaving you vulnerable to different cyberattacks.
Nonetheless, unsecured Wi-Fi networks can be more secure using a VPN. By establishing an encrypted tunnel between your device and a shielded VPN server, ExtremeVPN stops this form of Wi-Fi hacking.
Protect all Your Devices from Public Wi-Fi Connections
Worried about device compatibility? ExtremeVPN has you covered! All the major operating systems work with ExtremeVPN, including Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and more.
Best of all, routers are no exception. If you’re looking for a VPN to install directly on your router, ExtremeVPN has your back. You can simultaneously protect all your devices at home or in the office.
Top 9 Essential Recommendations for a Secure Public Connection
1. Protect Your Connections with a VPN
Top-notch Virtual Private Networks like ExtremeVPN are the most secure way of accessing unprotected Wi-Fi networks. When you connect to ExtremeVPN, your traffic undergoes an encryption process that shields your internet activities and protects your data from third parties.
2. Do not Keep Logged in to Your Accounts
Staying connected to your accounts would facilitate hackers’ goals of stealing your information. They could decipher your login details and change them without authorization; the best thing for you to do to avoid this is to log out once you finish using them.
3. Don’t Receive Air-Dropped Files from a Stranger
Devices like the iPhone integrate a feature called AirDrop that facilitates sharing files from one device to another.
Even though it’s a great feature for cybersecurity, it can be dangerous if it accepts files from unknown sources. Be mindful that hackers use these features to spread malicious content, so don’t accept files from someone you don’t know.
4. Secure Your Bank Accounts
The most exposed information to cyberattacks are bank accounts and login details to websites containing financial information. Beware of accessing these services while using a public network; doing so can make you subject to virtual robbery. The best thing is to postpone this till you can connect to a Wi-Fi network of your trust.
5. Look for and Select the Most Safe Connection
It is hard to trust the Wi-Fi outside, so finding a secure connection outside is a challenge. Nevertheless, you should ensure, at least, that the Wi-Fi connection is encrypted (look for the padlock symbol) and that it requests a password to connect to it.
6. Set Your Wi-Fi Configuration to Forget Public Networks
You’ll never know the time and date when a hacker will attack a Wi-Fi network. If you connected to a public network once, be sure to set your device to forget the Wi-Fi network so it doesn’t connect automatically next time. Doing this will lower your risk of connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi.
7. Try Alternative Ways of Connecting to the Internet
It’s not common today to access the internet using a cable connection. However, Ethernet connections are remarkably efficient at avoiding cyberattacks. You can consider Ethernet connections in scenarios like in your hotel room when staying for multiple days in a city.
8. Update Your Device’s Operating Systems Constantly
Another thing hackers take advantage of is the outdated Operating Systems of the devices. When a device’s OS is not up to date, it is more vulnerable to being pirated by third parties.
9. Visit Only Safe Websites
The Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security protocol prevents disreputable attackers from accessing your data on HTTPS sites. These websites encrypt all communication and traffic. If the URL has a padlock next to it, that means the website uses HTTPS. If a website doesn’t employ HTTPS, leave it right once, especially when using a public network.