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An Overview Of the Security Risks Associated with Public Wifi

By Tom Seest

Should You Trust Public Wifi?

Whether you’re using a public Wi-Fi network for business or pleasure, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First of all, a public Wi-Fi network is less secure than your own network because you don’t know who set it up or who’s connected to it. Therefore, it’s wise to use your mobile phone as a hotspot and be careful who you connect to. Secondly, try to stick to well-known networks that are less likely to be suspect.

This photo was taken by Kindel Media and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/policeman-and-woman-hugging-each-other-7714749/.

What Are Signs Of a Rogue Wi-Fi Network?

A rogue Wi-Fi network is a wireless access point (WAP) that has been installed on your network without authorization. This can be done by a well-meaning employee or by a malicious attacker. Often, rogue access points are small wireless access points installed in an unused wall network connector or a mobile device attached to a USB. Regardless of the origin, rogue WAPs pose a serious threat to your network security. They often do not follow the normal security procedures used by other wireless access points and are often not monitored by system administrators.
One way to detect rogue WAPs is to scan your network with a wireless scanning tool or an IDS/IPS. Depending on your network setup, you may be able to determine the source of the rogue signal by looking at the signal strength. The stronger the signal is, the closer it is to the rogue AP.
Another common rogue WAP is an employee who brings his or her own access point onto the corporate network. An employee might be annoyed by the lack of security controls on the corporate network and use it to connect his or her laptop. However, private access points don’t have the same security controls as other wireless access points, which can be a huge problem for your network. The security settings on these devices may be turned off by employees, making it impossible for your system administrators to protect your network from such attacks.
Another way to detect a rogue Wi-Fi network is to use intrusion detection systems. These systems should recognize wireless access points that have been cataloged before. That way, they won’t misidentify them as rogue WAPs. These rogue APs can cause havoc on your network.
One of the best ways to prevent rogue access points is to implement strict rules to restrict network access. For example, only authorized IT staff members should connect to the network. In addition, all devices connected to the network should meet the company’s security policies. Furthermore, some colleges will even expel students who connect to rogue access points.

This photo was taken by Kindel Media and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-policeman-wearing-blue-uniform-7714751/.

Should You Use a VPN to Protect Data?

Using a VPN to protect your data while using public wifi is an excellent way to ensure your privacy online. Even though a VPN does not guarantee complete privacy, it is an additional layer of security. By concealing your IP address, a VPN will allow you to remain anonymous and protect sensitive data. Additionally, a VPN will encrypt your connection everywhere, which means cybercriminals won’t be able to access your information.
Using a VPN when using public wifi is essential if you want to avoid having your private information stolen. Since hackers can easily impersonate an access point and spy on your data, using a VPN is your best defense against these cyber criminals. The most important benefit of a VPN for public WiFi is that it hides your IP address. Hackers use your IP address to identify your device. If your device is using a VPN, your only IP address will be that of the VPN server.
Another risk of connecting to public wifi is a rogue device. These malicious devices are designed to mimic a well-known Wi-Fi network, which puts you at risk of being hacked. In addition to these attacks, unsecured networks are easy to hack. Public Wi-Fi is a high-risk area for personal information, so using a VPN is crucial to protecting your data.
Using a VPN to protect your data while using public wifi also protects your identity by hiding your IP address from your internet service provider. Your IP address is also not revealed to third parties, so your activity will be invisible to them. A good VPN will also enable you to bypass censorship and geo-restricted websites.
Although public WiFi is convenient, it can be dangerous since hackers can take advantage of the lax security and easy access to your personal data. Using a VPN to protect your data while using public wifi is highly recommended by the Federal Trade Commission and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. Public WiFi networks are extremely vulnerable because they require you to accept terms and conditions before connecting to them. VPNs prevent this problem by funneling your internet traffic through a private server.

This photo was taken by Kindel Media and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/three-police-officers-in-blue-uniform-7714757/.