What restaurants would we choose for dining with our loved ones, or which café would we want to hang out at with our friends? In the past, it was because if a place had great taste, or if the service was exceptional. However, these are no longer the important factors.
Our preferences are now based on the availability of free Wi-Fi at public places – we all know that. Every new morning, a coffee shop will be putting up a “free-Wi-Fi” board on their doors, while some food joints would require you to make a purchase before you become eligible to get Wi-Fi.
All of us want to connect to any open network to carry out our online activities, without thinking a second about its implications and problems with wireless security of WiFi.
“Food is no longer tasty unless you can take a picture of it and share it online” a very accurate take on millennials myself included, we are too consumed by social media #Ceres17 pic.twitter.com/gh9y3QQnPx
— Niamh Bambrick (@nbambie1) November 10, 2017
Given the needs of most millennials to upload photos, update their check-ins, post their personal stuff on social media, everyone just connects to any available free public WiFi, not knowing the cost they actually pay.
However, most people do not know that public Wi-Fi hotspots an ideal target for hackers and snoopers. According to a survey conducted by CNBC, most people are unaware of the risks of using public Wi-Fi.
What can be accessed when they hack in?
Everything present on a device can get stolen by a hacker – its photos and videos, contacts, communication logs, passwords, you name it. Simply put, a hacker can access a device the same way a device owner would.
In 2009, Glenn Fleishman and Adam Engst collaborated to publish a book, titled “Take Control of Your Wi-Fi Security”. This book does justice to describing the ins and outs of Wi-Fi security in detail.
The authors of the book researched and came up with a list of things that hackers can access once they gain unauthorized access to your Wi-Fi. Here is the list:
All email accounts and passwords
All sent and received documents
List of all login locations
All email communication
All content of webpages visited
Credentials for unsecure websites
FTP username and password
All documents sent via FTP
Sent and received instant messages
Downloaded media (music + videos)
IP address and mac address
Credentials for telnet sessions
Remote control/VNC sessions
Encrypted transaction details
Pop-based email credentials
Files sent through Dropbox
Account info sent via SFTP
VoIP logs (calls + messages)
Secure webpages with SSL/TLS
Hackers can also snoop into your home Wi-Fi!
A Wi-Fi router has multiple encryption protocols in place which are there to ensure no one has unauthorized access to your data. However, these protocols are not perfect.
Every few days an update would be released to cover up for the shortcomings in the previous version, bringing forth new vulnerabilities with it.
These vulnerabilities allow hackers to bypass all the security measures and gain access to your Wi-Fi. They can use your bandwidth for accessing illegal content or downloading copyright material. What’s worse, they can use it to steal compromising information from your device and use it to blackmail you and extort money.
Where are you most likely to get hacked?
How to know if someone is connected to your home Wi-Fi?
Step 1: Log in to your router’s admin panel by typing in the specific IP address; in most cases, it is 192.168.0.1. You can find this IP address on a printed label under your router, or on the box it came in.
Step 2: Log in with your credentials – both the user name and password will be admin if you have never changed them. However, it is strongly recommended that you change these instantly.
Step 3: Navigate to wireless network>connected devices. Here you can view all the devices that are connected wirelessly to your Wi-Fi router.
Step 4: If you spot any device that you do not recognize, you should immediately block it and change all your passwords.
How to hide your Wi-Fi?
For some people who live in a tech savvy neighborhood, connectivity speeds are a nightmare. This is because their neighbors keep hacking their Wi-Fi and use their bandwidth for a free ride!
If you are one of those whose Wi-Fi has many free riders on it, you should hide your network. Watch this video to learn how to do that.
How to prevent Wi-Fi snooping?
There are a few steps and measures you can take to ensure that no one else can gain unauthorized access to your Wi-Fi.
Being a little cautious and putting in effort to protect your privacy can help you remain safe even when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Keep a complex password to your Wi-Fi router’s control panel.
- Keep a difficult to guess Wi-Fi password. Change this regularly.
- Ensure that WPA encryption is turned off because it is the easiest to hack.
Or, you could just get PureVPN – it is a complete cybersecurity solution that can protect your devices when connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot as well as your home Wi-Fi. It masks your IP address and assigns you a pseudo identity, making it impossible for hackers and eavesdroppers to ever know that you are connected to a specific network.
Once you install PureVPN, you can say goodbye to all old-school problems, such as installing an anti-virus and keeping it updated, or getting rid of pop up ads and scam emails. Not only that, you will become completely invisible on the internet, which will keep your activity hidden at all times from advertisers, scammers and monitoring authorities.
With PureVPN, You can enjoy the freedom to connect to any public Wi-Fi Hotspot without worrying about your privacy and security!