Protecting Yourself from the Dangers of Using Public Wi-Fi

Laptop and cellphone Wi-Fi devices next to cup of coffee atop a credit cardWhile waiting for a garage to repair your car, you head to the nearest coffee shop to take advantage of their free Wi-Fi. After all, your business can’t wait until your car is fixed. But before connecting your device to “LuxuryLatte-Public,” you should know about the harms of public Wi-Fi. The convenience of checking your bank statement is not worth having your information stolen, and planning your budget using a third-party connection is not worth a potential company breach. With the risk of cyber theft, it’s necessary you know how to protect yourself from the dangers of using public Wi-Fi.

What are the Dangers of Public Wi-Fi?

No public network – no matter how credible the establishment – is absolutely secure. You can enact measures to protect your business from cyber breaches, but when entrusting a third-party’s network, you’re putting the security of your information in their hands, and they’re less likely to have the tools to combat hackers. It also doesn’t help that hackers don’t have to dig very deep to find tutorials on how to compromise public Wi-Fi. Most commonly, hackers tend to stick to one of two plans of attack: Man-in-the-Middle vs. Evil Twin.

Man-in-the-Middle Attack

This type of attack is easy to deploy for hackers. A hacker can trick your phone or laptop into thinking their machine is the access point to the internet. In doing so, they are able to intercept traffic between your device and the destination.

Evil Twin Attack

Using this technique, a hacker may visit a business and boost a Wi-Fi signal that’s stronger than the establishment’s network. Hackers will then name their Wi-Fi with the business’s name to trick victims into connecting to their network, allowing them to monitor all your activity.

How Can I Avoid an Attack?

Luckily, just because there are unscrupulous people looking to steal your information doesn’t mean that you can never perform work outside the office. Here are a few simple steps you can take to avoid a cyber attack when out in public:

  • Stop using Wi-Fi altogether and invest in an unlimited data plan.
  • Disable automatic Wi-Fi connectivity on your device to avoid unwittingly connecting to a hotspot.
  • Use a VPN to access your business’s network outside of the Wi-Fi network to add a layer of encryption.
  • Don’t access your finances or any sensitive information while connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Ensure no one is intercepting your data by monitoring your Bluetooth connection.

For more information on protecting your information, read our blog, Helpful Tips for Securing Your Digital Life.

How to Can I Protect My Business?

You may provide your own public Wi-Fi for guests of your business, and beyond keeping yourself protected, it is your duty to also safeguard your client’s information. Here are a few simple things you can do to increase network security:

  • Keep your router in a secure location to prevent tampering.
  • Change the default password and network name on your router.
  • Install and regularly update firmware and firewall software.
  • Disable Wi-Fi Protected Setup – a feature allowing users to connect without entering the password.

Investing in cyber insurance can also help you or your business recover from data breaches or identity theft and the ensuing costs of legal fees and reputational damage. Since the average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million according to IBM, cyber insurance is a necessary policy for business owners.

As cozy as it is to perform your work from a booth inside your favorite restaurant, it’s important to recognize the dangers of using public W-Fi. Since you and your business’s welfare depend on security, protecting yourself when accessing third-party Wi-Fi and securing your own business’s network is essential. For all of your business insurance needs, you can rely on the TJ Woods Insurance Agency’s years of experience to help you become properly protected. Contact us today for a free quote.