Data security is always a major concern for consumers. We may listen to the warnings about data security breaches during major public security breaches, but on a regular basis, most of us underestimate the risk to our personal data that comes with connecting to public, shared or unsecured WiFi.
Recent estimates showed that 87% of consumers had at some point potentially put information at risk while using public WiFi. And the scariest fact is that your data can be compromised by everyday activities, not just online banking, as many people think. Simply logging onto your personal or corporate email from a restaurant or airport lounge can give hackers access to an alarming volume of your personal data.
How Do They Do It?
Harvard Business Review describes the two most common methods of hacking.
- The “Man in the Middle” process allows hackers to intercept traffic between a user’s device and the destination by making the victim’s device think that the hacker’s machine is the access point to the internet.
- The “Evil Twin” technique means setting up a malicious free WiFi network with a name similar to the one of your location like a restaurant or the airport. As you surf the web or do your online banking, all your activity could be monitored by some shady characters.
What can be stolen?
- Your money — directly through your credit card information
- Passwords from your email that can help to crack your bank and get to your money
- Private pictures and videos that can be used to blackmail you to get your money
What can you do to avoid being hacked?
- Never do banking or online shopping on the go.
- Don’t use email or access your social accounts.
- Protect yourself with a virtual private network (VPN).
- Implement two-factor authentication.
- Always stay alert while browsing and look out for the encrypted HTTPS connection on every page you visit — as opposed to a lesser protected HTTP standard.
- Turn off the automatic WiFi connectivity feature on your phone.
- Turn off file sharing.
- Use a Private WiFi connection or WiFi hotspot.
Industry information for this article came from Skyroam.