How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

According to a recent survey by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), three out of 4 of the respondents said that they use free public Wi-Fi. These hotspots are very convenient as they help us check our emails, catch up with our social networks, or even work remotely.

Unfortunately, most of us who use these networks do not realize that they are also a haven for hackers and that it’s important to stay safe on public Wi-Fi.

This is because Wi-Fi hotspots are usually very insecure, whether they have a password or not. Cybercriminals often spy on these networks and try to intercept your traffic and steal your data or even identity.

Protect Your Data on Public Wi-Fi

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How cybercriminals steal your data on public Wi-Fi

There are two main methods of attack that hackers can use to infiltrate your device.

Man in the Middle (MITM) Attacks

These types of attacks can take place on almost any public WiFi hotspot. The hacker usually connects just like any other user and then scans the network for connected devices. From there, they use various tactics to intercept and read the victim’s data, which is transmitted from the device to the router.

Man in the Middle Attacks on Public Wi-Fi
Man in the Middle Attacks on Public Wi-Fi

This way, hackers can capture credentials, banking information, and other personal data transmitted through the hacked connection.

Another associated risk is that depending on your file-sharing settings, a hacker can also steal files from your computer. And if you have enabled file writing, they can also send you files that have been infected with malware.

The Evil Twin

Apart from infiltrating an official hotspot, hackers can also create their fake hotspots. Such a hotspot is designed to mimic a trusted hotspot, and so it will most likely have a similar name to avoid suspicion.

Once you connect to this fake network, hackers can easily get access to your device. They can then steal personal information that may be used for identity theft or even holding you ransom. They can also gain access to your files or send some if file sharing is enabled.

Advanced attackers can also send fake warnings about a critical software upgrade, and then push malware on your device. The installed malware can then be used for communication with your device.

How to Stay Safe on Public WiFi

Truth be told, we can’t totally avoid public hotspots even though they present some risks – unless you deal with sensitive information. With the right information and tools, you can still continue enjoying the convenience provided by public hotspots.

Use a VPN

By far, the most effective trick of ensuring that you stay safe on public WiFi is using a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) like NymGuard. Such a tool encrypts all the traffic traveling to and from your phone or laptop such that no one can see whatever you are doing on the internet.

Just like the name suggests, a VPN creates a virtual and private tunnel within the public internet such that no third-party can reach you. The fact that NymGuard VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption ensures no hacker can successfully decrypt your data, and so you will be totally secure.

Apart from that, NymGuard VPN will also spoof your IP address and give you a new one, which is an added layer of anonymity.

Protect Your Data on Public Wi-Fi

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Stick to HTTPS

Hackers use phishing as one of the ways of collecting personal information such as usernames and passwords on public networks. They can do this through unencrypted websites that look similar to official websites. It’s, therefore, essential to ensure that you always use HTTPS websites as the data sent there is encrypted. 

HTTPS websites usually have a padlock symbol, and you can see ‘valid certificate’ when you click on it. If the site uses HTTP instead of HTTPS, your browser will show that it’s not secure at the address bar.

Secure & Insecure Websites
Secure & Insecure Websites

Avoid such websites at all costs.

Ensure the Firewall is Enabled

Firewalls filter suspicious or unauthorized traffic from entering or going out of a system. This means that it can protect your device from data-based malware threats, and so you should always ensure it’s turned on.

There’s a default firewall on Windows as well as Mac that you should always enable if you had turned it off. Although it won’t be as effective as using NymGuard VPN, it will still block certain kinds of data and help you stay safe on public WiFi.

Turn off File Sharing

As we saw earlier, it’s super easy for users connected on the same network to access your device when file sharing is turned on. To close this loophole, you can use a strong password to protect file sharing your device, or you turn off the service altogether.

Extra Tips

  • Don’t use sensitive services like banking or shopping on public hotspots
  • Always update your Antivirus software
  • Turn off automatic connection on public hotspots
  • Treat all public hotspots as suspicious

All in all, digital security is essential, and we should all take the right measures to ensure the safety of our data. If you are looking for a quick fix to stay safe on public hotspots, then you can connect your NymGuard VPN app to any server near you. With the added encryption and anonymity, your data will be secure from hackers.

Protect Your Data on Public Wi-Fi

Get started with NymGuard today and stay safe online. 85% off all VPN plans!

Get 85% Off Now

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