Security Issues: Staying Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Protect your data while browsing the internet in public! On this week’s One-Minute Wednesday, Drew Lawson will be discussing some of the risks associated with public wi-fi networks, and how to avoid falling victim to “man-in-the-middle” attacks. Don’t miss out on these valuable tips for keeping your data secure.

Staying Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Public wi-fi networks are quickly becoming ubiquitous, and they’re a really convenient way to connect while on the go. However, they can also expose your data to cybercriminals: when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, any data sent through your connection is vulnerable to being observed and captured by malicious actors.

This includes usernames and passwords, credit card info, and any other sensitive personal information. An attack where data is stolen off a public connection is often called a “man-in-the-middle” attack. In fact, cyber criminals often set up public wi-fi networks for the express purpose of stealing data from unsuspecting internet users.

Here are a few ways to defend against this type of attack:

  • Never connect to a public Wi-Fi network that you don’t recognize. Stick with the official network provided by your hotel, or airline, or wherever you happen to be traveling.
  • Be wary of networks that don’t require a password. This is a big red flag and could indicate a network set up by a cyber criminal specifically to steal your data.
  • Be extremely careful about entering sensitive information on a public network, even if you’ve connected to the official wi-fi at a hotel or airport. Consider waiting until you get home before purchasing something with a credit card or logging into a website with your username and password.
  • Finally, if you really need to enter sensitive information while on a public connection, make sure you only visit encrypted sites. These are easily recognizable by looking at their domain name, which will start with HTTPS. You can also look for the padlock icon to the left of the address bar, indicating an encrypted site. Encrypted sites allow your information to pass through the network a little bit more securely with much less risk of being compromised by cyber criminals.

Overall, it pays to remember that public wi-fi networks are not only convenient for you but for cyber criminals as well! Make sure you’re properly cautious about entering sensitive personal information online.


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