What are the types of threats posed by public wireless internet networks? Scammers and hackers know that it is quite easy to confuse people looking for free Wi-Fi. They hope you choose their fake network as you browse through available networks (or SSIDs).
Hackers can easily take control of a Wi-Fi router, even an official one, if it is not configured properly. After that, all they have to do is watch your data come by itself.
These are situations where scammers give their Wi-Fi network an almost identical name, hoping you’ll click on their network.
For example: “Library Network” and “Library Network”. One is official and one is not. It’s hard to know which one is which unless you pay attention to the data shared by your local Wi-Fi network sharer, such as a library or airport where you mostly have posters or signs that say network information. Similarly, the “honeypot” Wi-Fi (which aims to entice you to use it) is often used in places where you have free Wi-Fi and one that is paid.
People love everything that is free, so then fraudsters call their network something like “Free Internet” or “Free Wi-Fi”. Pay attention to the information that is displayed on the official sites.
Five steps to help protect yourself on public Wi-Fi networks:
Step 1: If you must use a public Wi-Fi network, avoid networks that ask for personal information such as your bank account, JMBG, or address. Do not perform financial transactions over a public Wi-Fi network. Never.
Step 2: Check the network. If a facility with a free Wi-Fi network does not have an official login page, especially if it is an airport or a public library, then it is probably not a secure network.
Step 3: Use secure Internet sites that use the HTTPS protocol, which is a secure version of the HTTP standard. If you don’t see the letter “S”, don’t “surf” on that site.
Step 4: Use an antivirus. Many security and antivirus programs protect you from malware, that malicious software that tries to insert a password into your system to access it later. It may be superfluous to take a special step for this, but always keep the firewall turned on. And one more thing: Use complex passwords.
Step 5: Use a virtual private network (VPN). VPN is not omnipotent, but it will protect you while using public Wi-Fi (and even while using your private Wi-Fi at home). Think of it as your private tunnel that takes you from your location (house, library, Starbucks, airport) to your desired website. A VPN protects the path between your home location and your website.