The Internet is interconnected with everyday life of a modern person. Earlier the internet was available only for users of desktop computers, now with the development of wireless network technologies (Wi-Fi technology) internet is accessible for mobile devices. In everyday life people use public Wi-Fi hotspots very often, in this article I would like to highlight the most common security threats public Wi-Fi Security poses and how to avoid these risks.
You can find public Wi-Fi access points everywhere, for example, in the metro, airport, cafe and so on. They allow you to access the Internet in these places absolutely free. However, access the internet in such places is associated with certain risks of user’s information leak. It is necessary to highlight the most common of them:
1) Hacker attack: man in the middle.
This threat is carried out as follows, between the user and the Wi-Fi connection point, an attacker makes a connection and all the information coming from the user to the access point goes first through the hacker computer and is then sent to the public access point. Thus, you’ll think that everything is fine, while information about your activities is in the wrong hands. For example: important emails or credit card information.
2) Lack of encryption.
Wi-Fi provides encryption, but slows down the speed of the Internet, so in public access points the administrator often disables built-in encryption to optimize traffic because of the heavy load on the network. As a result of this all information is transmitted openly. And this data is not difficult to steal.
3) Malicious access point.
The essence of this threat is that the hacker creates his own public Wi-Fi access point and names it in such way that people trust it (for example, the name will match the name of the place or the name of the official access point), thereby the hacker encourages them to connect to the point. For example, take an public park, a hacker in it, resting on a bench, creates an access point and names it also as a park, while noting in its name is public, official and free, for example Gorkipark_free. Many unsuspecting citizens will want to connect to a free Internet connection and fall into this trap, thanks to which information about the user's actions will fall into the hackers lap just like the man-in-the-middle attack
4) The spread of malware.
Another problem is the spread of malware. Hackers can send malware to your computer if file sharing over the network is turned on. Attackers can even crack a connection point and force you to download malware on your computer when connected to a Wi-Fi network. In this way, not only your confidential data may leak from the computer, but in a similar way you’ll be, involuntary, installing spyware programs that will send information about you to the hacker accessing the microphone or camera of your device.
However, not everything is that bad, there are many ways that will allow you to keep your information secret from an attacker:
1) Do not trust passwordless networks.
According to the current legislation of the Russian Federation, the main condition for free access to Wi-Fi is user authorization. When user is connecting to a public network, he must undergo an authorization procedure, for example, through a portal of state and municipal services of the Russian Federation or by entering his phone number and get a code. Therefore, do not use passwordless Wi-Fi networks because there is a great chance that this is a trap.
2) Closed networks can also be fake.
Feel free to clarify the name of the network so as not to fall into the bait of the criminal. If there is doubt, then better not to use this access point. If you are not sure about the security of the access point, you should not transfer important information through public networks, the loss of which may harm you.
3) Disable automatic network connection.
If you have automatic Wi-Fi network connection enabled, then better to disable it, otherwise you may accidentally connect to a trap-network set up especially for you.
4) Use a VPN.
When you are using public Wi-Fi, then it is highly recommended to use a VPN. VPN means virtual private network. Traffic in this network is encrypted over a secure tunnel. There are free and paid VPNs, paid versions have more features and are more reliable.
5) Use HTTPS.
HTTPS –HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. Many sites automatically use data transfer technology. If possible, you must enable HTTPS on all sites that are important to you. However, if you use a site that does not support this technology, you should not use it on public Wi-Fi networks.
6) Disable file sharing.
If you do not want to pick up malware, then better to disable this option when you are using public Wi-Fi, and this also prevents the detection of the computer by other network users.
7) Do not use the same passwords.
Most people use the same password on different services. If a hacker recognizes this, it will not be difficult for him to hijack all services, change the passwords and make them his.
8) Use antivirus
The regular launch of anti-virus programs will allow you to detect in time if someone has gained access to your system and is committing suspicious actions. The anti-virus will also inform you of a connection to an insecure network.
9) Turn on the firewall.
Most operating systems have a built-in firewall that monitors incoming and outgoing connections. A firewall does not guarantee 100 percent security, but it is a very useful option that should be kept turned on.
In conclusion, I would like to say that if you are afraid of the theft of your confidential data, but if you need to go online, then do not use those services whose loss will cause you significant damage, for example, a mobile bank. An attacker will not bother with you for a long time if you defend yourself it’s easier to find a defenseless target. Thus, following these simple rules you will protect yourself from the most common threats.
https://www.kaspersky.ru/blog/dangerous-public-wi-fi/10107/ https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/preemptive-safety/public-wifi-risks https://aif.ru/society/web/41189