Why I Hate Free WiFi


free wifiThis is the free public Wi-Fi era. You get free wi-Fi everywhere you go. But have you thought the Wi-Fi hotspot you use is provided by a con artist and you could end up paying a steep price for the internet connection?

One by fourth of the adult who uses the internet access it via public Wi-Fi once a week or more,a study revealed by AARP Fraud watch Network. In fact, many people carry out risky things when they use these hotspots, which in turn will put them in danger/fraud/identity theft.

More than 30 % said they have performed money transactions and banked online via public Wi-Fi in the last year.The survey also found that a portion of people had purchased products/services with a credit card this way.

Experts say these practices put users at risk. The report noted that hackers have two common methods of attack:

 Evil Twin Attack: Creating Wi-Fi hotspots that have the same or a nearly identical name of the legitimate ones you trust,such as popular hotel/coffee shop. 

Man in the Middle Attack: Providing a stronger Wi-Fi signal to get between the user and the legitimate connection.In either scenario, the hackers can see every unencrypted communication that happens while you are connected to the internet viz emails, credit card information,usernames and passwords and even security credentials.

 

How to Protect Yourself from 'Free' Wireless Scams 

 

By interviewing hackers, they revealed that sometimes they simply set up their electronic traps located near a business where users/customers come to enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi

A large portion of the people uses the same combination of login credentials for multiple accounts and it becomes easier for the hackers to snag it!!!

The report also found that most Wi-Fi users were not updated on the best protection scheme for home wireless networks.Experts advise using at least WPA2 wireless encryption for better protection against the public Wi-fi network scams. 

The software to hack into a wi-Fi network is widely available at little or no cost,making it easier for any small time snatcher to do it."It's incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for the average person to know if a Wi-Fi network is trustworthy or not," says an expert.Also, any shared internet access,both free or paid involves the same level of risk, unless you or someone you trust directly controls it.

 In fact, you can use public Wi-Fi to check your emails/social media but make sure you never perform any banking transactions or anything else dealing with financial matters. If you are in an unfamiliar place,try using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This service creates a "tunnel between your device and a secure place on the Internet,to prevent a potential attacker from seeing what you're doing.

Applicom offers a handy tip sheet for staying safe on public Wi-Fi networks, including using VPN.