Open and unsecured Wi-Fi networks are the ultimate gift to hackers. By connecting to public Wi-Fi, you are operating on an open network that allows hackers to access your device and monitor what you type and which sites you visit. This makes it easy for them to steal passwords, credentials, and financial information.
This is a cause for concern year round, but especially worrisome during the holiday season when users are more likely to use the coffee shop Wi-Fi to browse and shop online. The best way to protect yourself and your data it to avoid using these connections altogether, or at the very least avoid logging on to sites that require a password, or putting in your credit card number. You should also turn off file sharing in your device settings.
How exactly do hackers use these open Wi-Fi connections to steal your sensitive personal and business data? Two of the more popular methods are Man In The Middle attacks, and Evil Twin Attacks.
Man In The Middle attacks work by allowing the hacker to place themselves between you and the intended Wi-Fi connection point. Instead of connecting directly with a Wi-Fi hotspot, any information you send out filters through the hacker, allowing them to impersonate you. This means your passwords, credit card information, and even login credentials for your secure business network are under the control of a hacker.
With this information, a hacker can easily transfer funds out of your personal or business accounts and into theirs, or bypass your business’ network security to steal confidential client information or financial details, or plant malware or spyware on your systems.
Evil Twin attacks are carried out by hackers that set up Wi-Fi access points that mimic known networks in the hopes of tricking your device into connecting automatically. If that happens, the hacker can then hijack your device. One they have control of your device and credentials, they are free to do any of the same things a hacker behind a Man In The Middle attack can do.
Unsecure networks are an open invitation to hackers, and not even password protection can be enough to stop them. Which is why it’s so important to never send out any financial information over a public network. You should never connect to free Wi-Fi automatically, and never shop online while using free Wi-Fi.
It’s not only pubic Wi-Fi that is at risk of being compromised in this way. If your business does not have the right security measures in place to protect your own wireless connection and network, hacker can easily use your own Wi-Fi against you.
Want to learn more about the steps you can take to keep your network secure against hackers? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905.763.7896 Ext. 214. We’re the IT professionals businesses in Toronto trust.