You are sitting at the airport waiting to board the already delayed flight. To pass the time, you decide to access the internet through the Airport WiFi network. Yes! It is easy for you to access public WiFi networks, but should you take the risk? Public WiFi network is also a hotbed of cyberattacks and security risks. This is what makes accessing public WiFi networks unsafe and risky.
But, what is it that makes accessing public networks a security risk for you. Let us find out.
Free hotspots in public places do not require a password for authorization and connection. This makes it easier for data thieves and hackers to gain access to an unprotected network.
That said, let us take a look at the 4 things which make public WiFi networks unsafe to access.
1. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks (MITM)
The moment you try to access the internet by using a public WiFi network, it lets you establish a link with the primary router. MITM occurs when a hacker intrudes between you and the internet access point. Unfortunately, while you think that data is being sent to the authorized web address it is actually being sent to the hacker.
Cybercriminals use special programs and applications to manipulate the online traffic to and from your side. It makes it easier for them to gain access to your login details and other private data.
But, you can keep this problem away for good by switching to a private and secure WiFi network. For example, with a TP Link WiFi router, all you need to do is use the TP Link app to secure the network against unauthorized access.
2. Snooping & Sniffing
Do you know that a hacker can track your every move while accessing public WiFi networks? At times, a cybercriminal can access your internet browsing history. Moreover, they can also steal any login details to get access to sensitive information.
At the same time, hackers and data thieves utilize special software to capture any valuable data packet flowing between the public WiFi networks and a device. It lets them capture information like passwords and IP address which you might share using the network.
3. Evil Twin Attacks
Evil Twin cyberattack is where a hacker or data thief sets up a malicious WiFi hotspot to steal your personal data. It is not hard for a cybercriminal to set up a hotspot that seems the real deal. Unfortunately, these are nothing more than a trick to get you to try access the network.
Want to know how this works? Pay Attention. A cybercriminal sets up a rogue WiFi hotspot and records encrypted information coming through it. They do this by setting up “free WiFi hotspots” to create free internet access points. The name usually resembles a nearby coffee shop or restaurant.
After you access the internet, the hacker keeps a tab on your online activity to steal personal information. This information can include your personal information like banking details and email logins. They can also execute MITM attacks using this information.
4. Malware Infection
Hackers can also infect open public WiFi networks with malware. This malware later infects any device trying to access the internet using the same network. Cybercriminals can also hack the network access point itself and send fake pop-ups which tell you to update a certain software. All it needs is your permission to install, only it is not an update but a malware file.
After the malware gains control of the target device, stealing personal information is a cakewalk for the hacker. They can not only copy and delete sensitive information, but even make the device inoperable. Want to know the worst part? You would not even know when the device got infected with malware.
Yes! It is easy to access public WiFi networks but it also comes with a certain level of risks. Tech experts recommend that you prefer accessing private WiFi networks as these are secure.
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