Public Wi-Fi to use your gadgets and Sometimes you run out of data on your cell phone plan, so you need to connect to any public Wi-Fi. However, there are certain risks that you may not be aware of yet.
What is a public WiFi?
A public WiFi hotspot works, from a user’s point of view, in much the same way as a WiFi network you might find in your home or office. These access points broadcast an Internet connection using special wireless equipment to create a WiFi network to which you can connect a tablet, smartphone, computer, or other device.
A public network is a network to which anyone can connect. The best, and perhaps only pure, example of such a network is the Internet. A private network is any network to which access is restricted. If you are connecting a system to the Internet, you need to get a valid registered IP address.
Beware Free Wi-Fi: Government Urges Workers to Avoid Public Networks. The National Security Agency warned government employees that hackers could take advantage of the public Wi-Fi in coffee shops, airports and hotel rooms.
this information is very useful for all those who need an Internet connection in public spaces, even more so if you are traveling abroad and may not know the reliability of these public lines.
Benefits of using public Wi-Fi
- Having public Wi-Fi is a real blessing when you have no other way to connect to the Internet.
- Imagine that you arrive in Rome for work and need to communicate with the people who are going to pick you up.
- Since you don’t have a local phone line, you need Internet access to communicate with them.
- Thank God that Rome-Fiumicino International Airport offers free Wi-Fi without time limits!
- This is a pretty obvious advantage of public Wi-Fi: it gets you out of trouble when you need it most.
- On the other hand, the existence of public Wi-Fi in cities implies a series of advantages that have a direct impact on society,
- since the digital world is even more accessible to all, allowing the bulk of society to have access to Internet and therefore facilitate access to information to the entire population.
- For this reason, the cities that offer the largest number of free Wi-Fi points (or hotspots) are positioned above others in terms of tourism,
- since they are a meeting point for the inhabitants of the nearby areas and the tourists who value Internet accessibility.
- In addition, by eliminating this digital limit, government entities tend to facilitate bureaucratic procedures for their inhabitants, speeding up their effectiveness and optimizing their access to those procedures that can be carried out digitally.
Also Read: Overview of Personal Area Network – PAN
Disadvantages of public Wi-Fi
- In other matters, and remembering these wise words of Rumplestiltskin, you have to understand that all magic has a price, my dear.
- So there are many things to consider when using public Wi-Fi. The main thing to know is that there are two types of public Wi-Fi networks: secure networks and insecure networks.
- To connect to an unsafe network, you must be within the necessary range and it is dangerous because it does not have an element that blocks unwanted interference.
- On the other hand, a secure network requires that the user accept the legal conditions for its use, must register an account or have the corresponding password to enter that network.
- However, there are many dangers in using public Wi-Fi. One of them is the high possibility of infecting your device with malware.
- That is, any type of malicious software that can infect your computer, tablet or smartphone. Hackers use malware for multiple purposes, such as extracting personal information or passwords, stealing money, or preventing owners from accessing your device.
- Also, using public Wi-Fi can lead to a very common phishing strategy, where if the user wants to enter their email, for example, the scammer redirects them to a page that is seen a lot, but is not the original in order to obtain your credentials to sell your data on the black market or to commit other types of email fraud.
How to secure using public Wi-Fi
So while browsing secure pages (Https) or using known applications, your data is not in danger. In this case, you have to be especially careful with passwords, because if you are on an unsecured network (Http), a sniffer could detect your unencrypted traffic. Also, if you access a subscription or a forum with the same username and password that you use for everything, a cybercriminal could break into your Facebook, email, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
In addition, another of the most common threats on public networks is the so-called “Man in the Middle” or MITM (“person in-between”) attack. The MITM attack is a kind of espionage. When a computer or phone connects to the Internet, data is sent from that device to a service or web page. You can also get a worm that is very similar to traditional computer viruses, but doesn’t need an anchor program to work because worms can spread on their own.
When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network without proper security settings, a worm can enter your computer from another device connected to the same network you are using, causing a serious mess on your device.
How can you be safe when using a public Wi-Fi network?
- Try to connect through a secure public network whenever possible. Otherwise, use a secure network. You can recognize it because the system should request some type of access or register to enter that network.
- Do not enter online banking or government websites where your personal information is handled.
- Refrain from sending files through unsafe websites
- Don’t buy anything online when using public Wi-Fi, as you’ll need to submit your bank information or customer access numbers.
- Disable the system to automatically connect to the Wi-Fi network when you are in unknown places.
- You should keep an eye on the Bluetooth connection in public places, as the Bluetooth connection allows various items to connect, which could allow a hacker to see and break through the signal used by your smart systems and gain access to your connected devices.