Hacks and cyberattacks are not new to the cyber world, and with each hack, more and more people have their data get exposed. As reported by KPTV in Portland, Oregon, a local coffee shop in Old Town Chinatown is now employing additional security measures to protect its business and customer privacy after reports that someone may have hacked into its Wi-Fi.
If you’re in Portland and looking for a place which serves the best coffee, you got to try Floyd’s Coffee Shop, a staple that’s been in the community for more than a decade. A place with its parking, Apple Pay and Google Pay acceptability and a free Wi-Fi, it’s loved by panini and toasted bagel fans.
With a place so dear to the community, friends and family were stunned to hear that their coffee shop Wi-Fi may have been compromised. The owner, Nicole Tignor, observed the Wi-Fi had been running slow a few months and continued to get worse. As a concerned owner, she called an IT expert to come to have a look and fix the Wi-Fi network.
While the IT guy took a few minutes, it turned out that someone was hacking into the Wi-Fi network as they sat there. The hacker managed to change the Wi-Fi network’s password, including the password for their surveillance cameras, gaining instant access to the devices of anyone who might be logged onto the Wi-Fi network during that time.
As a distressed owner, all Tignor wants is to provide a safe space for her customers and while cybersecurity isn’t something that’s taught to us in our early years in school, it’s something that we must recognize living in a technologically infused era.
Public Wi-Fi Networks at Risk
Public Wi-Fi networks have always been at risk as they’re the most targeted networks due to the sheer flow of people connecting to them. While it may be convenient for many, it’s essential to understand that this convenience comes with a hefty price – loss of user data.
It’s not easy to catch the bad guys as you would think or see in the movies. Just trying to figure out the problem could take months let alone the tracking operation which could stretch to years and yet you might not land on a final conclusion.
Hackers can clone their location, making it nearly impossible to discern any footprint (if any). For all you know, the hacker could be in the different part of the world laying back on the sofa and infiltrating on Public Wi-Fi networks with weak passwords and no encryption.
How to Protect Yourself against Hackers
Online privacy and security have never been this shaken to its core than it is today. We’re seeing massive data breaches from corporations like Yahoo, Equifax, Facebook, LinkedIn, and dozens of more. Hundreds of millions of users have their confidential data exposed online.
What’s worse is that there’s no stopping this menace unless you start employing security measures on your devices, begin adopting a lifestyle where you limit the amount of information you share online, and take a proactive approach towards cybersecurity in general.
Security experts advise using two separate internet networks, the main network for internal use and a guest network for external use where others can connect and gain access to the internet. Having two separate networks is one of the easiest ways to fence off intruders.
It’ll be unwise to stop offering a free Wi-Fi service as that’s a major attraction for any user. Instead, if you’re serious about protecting your business and users data, you should use a guest network. A guest network would only have access to the Internet, and users wouldn’t have the ability to get access to the main network which hosts cameras or point of sales system of the business.
As far as the users are concerned, it’s crucial to weigh in the costs and benefits of using the internet in a public setting. Think of it this way, accessing sensitive information such as online banking, iCloud, Google Drive, confidential office files and others should resort to your private network which of course should be secured itself, to begin with.
Trust your instinct. If you’re not comfortable with logging in online in a public place that’s surrounded by cameras all over you, it’s best that you act responsibly. As with anything, there are risks associated with both public and private Wi-Fi networks, and you need a Wi-Fi VPN to keep you secured at all times.
Use a Wi-Fi VPN
VPNs have long had a reputation of just being a tool which can get you instant access to content that’s limited in your region/country. That’s certainly no longer the case. Over the years, VPNs have advanced and so have their features which come packed with robust mechanisms that not only provide state-of-the-art encryption but combat cyberattacks.
One basic rule when browsing the web is to make sure your internet connection with the website is secure. Just like how we keep our communications with friends and family private, the same case applies when going online. You can tell if the connection is secure through the lock symbol on the top left side just before the URL.
Secure Yourself with a Public Wi-Fi VPN
A Wi-Fi VPN will encrypt your internet traffic with AES 256-bit encryption that’s the most robust encryption standard used by militaries around the globe. Encryption encodes your internet traffic (also known as data packets) and makes sure that your internet request or data gets received and sent back to you in a safe manner.
Even if your internet connection were to get tapped by a snooper, all they’ll get is gibberish data as encryption completely restructures your communications in such a way that it’s of no use to a third person. When connected to a Wi-Fi VPN, you can rest assured about your online privacy and security.
In light of the recent events, Floyd’s Coffee is now partitioning its internet connection by allowing users to connect to a guest network. There’s also a time limit for how long customers can use the internet as a free period proves to attract hackers because they get more time to amass users data.