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What Are Open Public WiFi & Hotspot Risks

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Introduction

You find yourself bored riding the subway, queuing at the bank, or listening to a dull lecture at your university. And what do you do to make the time pass a bit quicker? You connect to an available public WiFi hotspot. Awesome, right? 

Not really.

Let’s talk about the risks of public WiFi and how using unsecured free WiFi can jeopardize your personal information and even cause you to lose data and be a victim to fraud and extortion. But, we will tell you how to stay safe on public WiFi. Including what steps you need to take to protect yourself.

What Are Public WiFi And Open Hotspot Risks?

The main problem with free public WiFi is that it doesn’t require any authentication for access. In other words, anyone can connect to free public WiFi. While that is why we all love using it, that is also the reason why it is so unsafe.

Man-In-The-Middle Attacks

Hackers know that so many people use hotspots, which makes them an automatic goldmine for cybercriminals. For example, Man-In-The-Middle attacks are a common tactic used by hackers where they configure their devices to configure a signal similar to the one you would expect at a public place, for example, “Central library.” 

When you connect to that network, you are unaware that you are connected straight to the hacker’s device. The hacker will be able to steal personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers, causing you major problems.

Unencrypted Traffic

When you are using public networks, you risk that hackers can intercept your traffic. When the connection is encrypted, even if someone intercepts the data that goes to or from your device, all they will get is an encrypted code they won’t be able to use.

However, if you visit a website that doesn’t support encryption while connected to an open free WiFi, and someone intercepts the traffic using packet sniffers, they will get everything unencrypted. That means all of your information will be at their disposal.

Malware Infections

Hotspots are a perfect place to spread malware infections too. Hackers will infect the network itself, which will then spread malware to connected devices. 

The network can show popups asking you to update software or ads you see when browsing the web. Once you click those, your device gets infected with viruses, Trojans, or even ransomware. This is especially problematic if you have file sharing enabled when connecting to public WiFis.

How To Stay Protected When Using Public WiFi?

While it is a good idea not to use public WiFi if you don’t have to. We have to admit that having free Internet access is very convenient, especially when traveling. 

The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to use an anti-virus that will protect you from all types of malware. TotalAV is regularly updated to keep you safe from all kinds of hacker and malware attacks on public WiFi hotspots,

What’s more, TotalAV has optional VPN (virtual private network) that will keep your internet traffic encrypted, even while using hotspots, enabling you to enjoy free Internet without any risk.VPN is not only great for added security, it also helps you unlock geo-restricted content, which will allow you to access any website no matter what your current location is.