In today’s world, people are constantly checking their phones or looking for a place to work that has free Wi-Fi. Whether it’s Starbucks, McDonald’s, or just a local coffee shop; what are the dangers and problems of using free wifi?
Offering free Wifi is a great selling point for a business or coffee shop because it brings in people who will stay longer and perhaps purchase more; plus if a business looks busy, it attracts more customers. The only problem with free Wifi is security. Free Wifi has virtually zero security, which is why it’s free and easy to connect to. Hackers are everywhere today and they are not always the guy in the corner with a hood on his head looking very suspicious. Usually, it’s someone, you wouldn’t expect, who looks like a completely normal individual.
With Hackers running wild in the world, we must be secure when we are at coffee shops or anyplace offering free wifi. Even if you don’t use it every day, sooner or later, everyone connects to some form of free wifi. Here are some tips to stay safe and secure.
- Always use HTTPS when on free wifi. There are even Chrome extensions: HTTPS Everywhere for instance. The reason for this is that free wifi has absolutely no security, so with a very simple device, someone could see everything you are doing on your computer without https. They can see everything from Photos to credit card information and from passwords to bank account numbers. This is especially important when on a site where you will use a Credit Card, enter a password, or put in any personal information. Many sites are now coming out with HTTPS, which is greatly helping the security problems with free wifi. The reason HTTPS helps is because the “S” really does mean secure. HTTPS will take everything you do on your computer and instantly scramble that information before it sends it out from your computer to the router or modem. The problem with HTTP is that it doesn’t scramble this info and when it sends it to the router and modem; it is not a straight line stream of data. Instead, it gets sent to every computer in a “free wifi” building, so therefore, it would be pretty simple for someone with a device to steal or intercept that data with no one knowing any better.
- Another important thing to do is be careful of “fake wifi.” A hacker technique that is commonly used is creating a wifi spot called, for instance, “McDonald’s Free Wifi” when in reality it’s a falsely created wifi network that takes everything you do and immediately just sends the information directly to the hacker. So being certain that the wifi you are connected to is in actuality the real wifi is very important. Most wifi networks like Starbucks and McDonald’s requires you to agree to a Terms and Conditions, if you don’t see one then that may be a sign that you could be connected to a fake network. This is something easy for hackers to do and hard for them to get caught so keeping an eye out for this is important.
- The thing that everyone has to be most careful of is banking sites, credit card sites, personal info sites. Another thing to be careful of is “fake sites” there are many sites out there usually in the form of links you click on that are fake. Sites that look identical to Amazon or Facebook and are actually just a fake site that will capture your data and then redirect you to the actual Facebook or Amazon so that you don’t know that it captured your data. This is another really easy thing for hackers to do and is something you have to be careful of. It is pretty easy not to fall for this trick; most of these fake sites either are the result of a really bad virus or an email with the bad link inside it. Simply running Malware checks and watching your spam email can keep you safe from this one.
ZenTek USA constantly wants to keep you safe and your data / private information secure. For more info or concerns, please contact us here, email us, or call us at 616-638-3779