Like They Say, Nothing Is Free These Days, Especially “Free” Public WiFi

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Like They Say, Nothing Is Free These Days, Especially “Free” Public WiFi

It may be tempting to use “pay as you go” public WiFi while waiting at the airport gate or to quickly check your email in Starbucks. Mobile technology creates a culture reliant on quick and easy internet connections and with mobile providers creating public hotspots in cities nationwide, it’s easier than ever before to fire up your laptop and connect to the internet in a public place.

Accessing open, unsecured WiFi networks have a myriad of consequences when it comes to the safety of your personal information. Normal tasks such as checking bank account information, downloading pictures and shopping online can pose major risks. Hackers use multiple ways to launch their attacks, including “Man-in-the-middle” attacks, rogue WiFi networks, and a variety of easy to use hacking tools.

Let’s say you are in a hotel lobby and unassumingly connect to “HotelWifi”, the hotel’s public WiFi network. Using a fairly simple tactic, a hacker can set up a fake hotspot with the same name, called a rogue network, or Evil Twin, to listen in for banking account data and other sensitive information. This copycat network may look official, but is actually an outsider attempting to hack into your device.

A “man-in-the-middle” attack involves a hacker intercepting information sent between two computers through the impersonation of both parties. This allows the perpetrator to send and receive data meant for someone else, without either party knowing until it is too late. This eavesdropping attack grants the hacker full visibility into the user’s internet traffic, compromising personal or business data.

It is imperative for users to balance the convenience of connecting while on the go with being aware of the dangers of unsecure WiFi networks. WPA2-Enterprise wireless offers users the benefit of over-the-air encryption, and onboarding solutions such as JoinNow MultiOS help simplify such deployments for today’s BYOD world. You are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your information. “Man-in-the-middle” attacks and Evil Twin may sound like lingo from a superhero movie, but in actuality, should be taken very seriously.