Public Wi-Fi: Top 5 threats and 10 protection methods.

In our previous post, we shared the dangers that free hosting presents to our projects. To continue the same topic, let's talk about public Wi-Fi. What threats and risks are involved, and how can you protect your device?

Yes, we are used to the fact that public wireless Internet is everywhere: in any coffee house and shopping mall, airport, hotel and even on the street. ESET research shows that 74% of respondents use Wi-Fi hotspots without considering their security. And interception of traffic at such points can easily be done. Personal information, digital identification data, including banking ones, are at risk.

What makes public Wi-Fi dangerous?
The primary vulnerability is that while using a public network, your traffic is not protected. That creates numerous "loopholes" for attackers. We'll talk more in today's article.

Threat 1. "Evil twins" - fake hotspots.
When connected to Wi-Fi, you may not notice that you are using a "parallel" network with a similar name, imitating only a legitimate one. These hotspots are known as "Evil Twins" used for the theft of personal data and credentials and unauthorized access to internal networks is made.

Threat 2: Cloned websites.
Similar to a fake Wi-Fi access point, there is a risk of entering a "clone" site. This kind of scam is called DNS spoofing. Instead of the URL entered, you are actually redirected to a website that can look exactly like the original and your traffic is redirected to a third-party server. So, without any suspicions, you can willingly transfer personal data to attackers.

Threat 3: Infected devices of other users.
You may have taken care of your device's security, but all guarantees come to nothing if you connect to a public hotspot. Gadgets of users from the same Wi-Fi network can be infected with various viruses, worms and other malware that puts your device at risk of infection and/or loss of personal data, even if you have antivirus software.

Threat 4. The risk of stealing passwords.
According to LogMeIn statistics, 59% of users set the same password to access accounts on different services for ease of use. It represents a threat not only to personal security on the network, but also to family and friends. With your universal password, attackers actually get the keys to your life and can use them for various purposes: from correspondence on your behalf on social media to money transactions from your personal bank client account (mentioned in the previous article).

Threat 5. MITM vulnerability (“Man in the middle”).
“Man in the middle” is an attacker who interferes with the data transfer protocol. During a MITM attack, communication between the parties is intercepted (normally within the reception range of a wireless access point) and then relayed to the counterparties. An attacker may steal the identity of each endpoint, or remain an intermediary host, deleting or corrupting information.

How to protect yourself when connecting to public Wi-Fi?
Refusing to use public Wi-Fi in the modern world is hardly possible. Following these guidelines can help reduce safety risks.

1. Use public Wi-Fi only when necessary. All important operations requiring authentication and the entry of other private information should be performed only through a secure and reliable access point.
2. Disable the automatic Wi-Fi connection and select the networks manually. Thus, your device will not be constantly scanning for a familiar network, and attackers will be unable to connect the device to their network without your awareness (see paragraph on "Evil Twins").
3. Make sure that the devices you use to connect to a public Wi-Fi network are protected by antivirus software. Don't forget to update it on a regular basis, because if you force updates to be installed on a public Wi-Fi network, malware may be installed on your devices.
4. Check the legitimacy of the wireless connection. Whatever network you connect to, always check the Wi-Fi access point information (network name and password or IP address).
5. Always mark your connection to public Wi-Fi as "Public Network". This will prevent your device from sharing files or other sensitive information with others in the network, which will decrease the risk of malware infection from its "holder".
6. Use a VPN. Private VPN servers from LLHOST INC. create a secure and encrypted network connection, taking care of your privacy.
7. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for critical resources (bank clients, email, social networks, etc.). This will prevent unauthorized connection to the device.
8. Delete your Wi-Fi connection when you have completed the necessary steps to avoid automatically connecting to a network when you get within reach.
9. Change your passwords once you have used public Wi-Fi networks. The recipe for a strong password is simple: use upper and lower case letters, numerals and special characters.
10. Use the HTTPS data transfer protocol. It supports the security of site operations, the reliability of connections and the protection of data transmission.

It's quite difficult to protect yourself from hunters who are deliberately trying to get your bank data. But you should be prepared for any attacks today. Private VPN servers from LLHOST INC. were created to ensure that your personal and business correspondence, instant messenger conversations, online purchases, browser browsing history, etc. were not intercepted or overheard. And we're ready to help and keep it simple! Use promo code #publicwifihowto and get a -12% discount on any Private VPN server from LLHOST INC. for 3 monthly billing periods. The promotion is valid until August 25, 2022, but why wait when you can take action now!