With more and more sources of computer services, entertainment and work going online, it is no wonder that people feel the need to constantly stay connected to the Internet. So much so, that apart from having unlimited wireless connections at home and ones smart phones, most of us also plug into public wireless connections available at restaurants, coffee shops, airports, stores and generally anywhere we go. For many people, such freely available public wireless connections are the only option for conducting business. What we do not realize is that such wireless connections lack proper security, and are very prone to computer hacking, password thefts, and other cyber crimes.
Free Wireless Comes with a Big Security Risks
Free wireless connections are generally the ones which your devices show as “unsecured.” This means that they are not protected by any password and anyone within their range can connect to them. Many places do this as a form of convenience, but unknowingly, hackers can use that convenience to gain access to your information, without you even knowing. While they might not be able to cause you any major damage if you are sending social emails or reading articles on the Internet, but a hacker can strike a major blow if you happen to open your social networking accounts or bank accounts over such networks. Basically if you have to login to anything while connected to public wireless, you could be giving your credentials to a hacker, and destroying whatever feeling you might have for your safety and security.
Once a hacker gets your credentials to something, they could:
- Gain access to your social networking accounts
- Break into your bank account or gain access to your credit card information
- Share confidential information on your company or yourself
- Install back doors to continue feeding the hacker secure information, even when you are connected to a secure network. wireless or otherwise.
Security for Your Public Wireless is a Must
To ensure that you stay protected while accessing a public wireless connection, here are a few simple things you can do:
- Make sure that the websites you visit are secured. For this, just check the website name starts with HTTPS.
- Access the internet through a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Make sure your computer is protected with an up to date anti-virus and firewall
- Disable any automatic file sharing on your computer
- Confirm the authenticity of a network from the provider. For instance, the airport or library internet service provider
- Use a two way authentication mechanism for your passwords, especially social networking and banking accounts.
The next time you are tempted to connect to a public wireless connection without taking proper security precautions, be aware of what you are stepping into. Something as simple as checking your email, could be an invitation for a hacker. You wouldn’t want to see something undesirable posted online under your name, in your social accounts, or have confidential company information made public.
JMARK has security specialists that can secure your network and your computers. If you have any doubt on your or your companies security, contact us so we can determine the best course of action and provide you with effective wireless security.