How To Stay Safe On Public Wi-Fi Hotspots?

Mayukh Bari02 September 2020 10:31AM IST
3 min read275

Public Wi-Fi hotspot means unlimited free data! In our modern digital lifestyle, what could be more exciting than free data. But free goods are not always good. Using public Wi-Fi could be devastating if you don't take precaution.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots don't use encrypted connection. Any cyber attacker can spy on you and steal your valuable information. Since, the open hotspots offer easy prey, hackers, snoopers, man-in-the-middle attackers are quite attracted by these networks. Malware can be easily injected into these insecure open networks and thereby into your device connected to the network. On an open public Wi-Fi network, you are vulnerable to these attacks.

Personal Data Leakage

A hacker with little experience can access the following information while you browse your favourites on an open hotspot. They can easily access informations like - location, sites you are surfing, messages including emails and chats, media files you share, persons you are communicating with.

If the hacker is sophisticated enough, he/she can access the 'login credentials' and other sensitive information too. There are several incidents and reports across the globe when users connected to an insecure public Wi-Fi and ended up with severe consequences.

Man-in-the-middle attack

You were chatting with your friends on a public Wi-Fi hotspot. After a while your friend went offline and then again came back asking for some sensitive information. As soon as you give him (this time a hacker faking as your friend) the information, you are in danger.

This type of attack takes place when a individual (hacker) intercepts the communication between two individuals and include himself into the conversation. Now he can ask for any information between these two people.

Malware attack

Malware can be easily injected into these insecure open networks and thereby into your device connected to the network. These malware attacks are one of the most dangerous attacks. When injected into your device, it can give access to everything in your device. Don't ever allow anything to install on your device if you are on a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Fake hotspots

Few hackers set up their own hotspots in public places. They use a name close to a legitimate network and use it as bait for the people. Thus, they trick users to connect it. As soon as someone connect these, they become vulnerable. Now the hacker can easily access the valuable personal information. And in this scenario, as victim is connected directly to the hacker, the attack could be more severe.

Bait hotspots

These type of Wi-Fi hotspots ask user to provide email id or phone number for registration. Afterwards they can sell these private information to advertisers or many others with unknown evil intentions.

Is there any solution?

The best way to protect yourself from these threats is by using a good VPN (virtual private network). VPN connection anonymizes your online activity by creating an encrypted tunnel. If you frequently use public hotspots then you must install a VPN on your device. If you don't use these networks then also just keep a VPN, one day it may come handy in situation when you have to depend on pblic hotspots infested with evil minded people.