As a trusted Hampshire IT support company, PurpleJelly are dedicated to staying ahead of the curve when it comes to security threats, so that we can best advise and assist our customers to help their networks safe. It’s important to remember that security is not only an issue in the office, but any business that’s undertaken in public on personal devices – especially if you connect to unsecured public networks whilst it’s done!
Many of us use public wifi spots regularly when out and about in order to consume data (especially with the current trend surrounding Pokemon Go!) but not that many of us are actually aware of the security risks that we could face when we do this! A problem that’s becoming more commonplace is that of ‘fake’ public wifi, where cybercriminals will set up bogus hotspots pretending to be the service offered by legitimate businesses in order to trick unaware users out of their personal information!
64% of people think that their data is safe on public wifi spots found at cafes, hotels and airports with 78% having even shared sensitive information over unsecured networks but bogus connections can lead to usernames and passwords being stolen, as well as email, account and even financial information!
These imposter hotspots can appear anywhere usual free wifi is, but are most common in hotels and cafes, as well as places where people are more distracted and harried, such as airports and aboard trains.
One way to avoid potentially becoming victim to this data-stealing scam is by watching out for suspicious signs, such as similar hotspot names, especially if one includes ‘free’ (e.g. ‘Starbucks_Wifi’ and ‘Free_Starbucks_Wifi’). When in doubt about which wifi option is the legitimate one, simply double check with the establishment which is the correct network to connect to.
Further steps include turning off your device’s wifi when not in use to prevent automatic connection to unsecure networks as well as forgetting public networks, to prevent devices from remembering potentially harmful connections.
However, it’s important that even legitimate hotspots can lead to data leaks if they’re unsecured, meaning that it’s best to only browse HTTPS secured sites, or, if possible, not undertake any personal or sensitive business whilst connected to a public network.