Public Wi-Fi is one of those catch-22 scenarios of the modern world. On the one end, it allows you to access the Internet for free. But, on the other hand, it makes you vulnerable to cybercrime and hacking and puts your online privacy in danger.
The problem is that Wi-Fi networks are not protected by encryption technology. This means anyone from within the network can easily access your Internet data. That goes for all the usernames, passwords, credit card information and chat messages that you send and receive while connected to the Wi-Fi network.
However, there are ways to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks and we’re going to show you how.
Why is Your Privacy at Risk on Public Wi-Fi?
Online hackers are constantly working to improve the methods they use to steal data from Internet users. One of their most creative methods is man-in-the-middle (MITM). This involves creating their own fake public network which has the same details as the restaurant or café that you’re accessing the Wi-Fi network from. Once you log into the fake network, the hackers will be able to access all of your private information. This is regardless of the device you’re using.
Another common method is that of installing packet sniffing software. This enables them to record all the data from users who’re online on that particular network.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to techniques that hackers can and do use to infiltrate user data on Wi-Fi networks. The worst part is that most of these methods are freely available online for anyone to use. So you never know who’s a hacker and who isn’t.
Attention: Read before you continue
Governments and ISPs across the world monitor their users online activities. If found streaming or browsing content on your Fire TV Stick, mobile or PC, you could get into serious trouble. Currently, your IP is visible to everyone. We strongly recommend you to get a good VPN and hide your identity so that your online experience doesn’t take a bad turn.
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Is Every Wi-Fi Network Unsafe?
All public Wi-Fi networks are defenseless against hackers because you’re not the only one using the network. That’s why there’s no way to regulate who signs into it. Whether it’s your ISP snooping on your or scammers looking to acquire sensitive information, you’re vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
According to a 2017 report by Belgian researchers, most Wi-Fi networks are unsecure. The report further states that hackers can use WPA2 protocol to come up with new and creative ways to hack your device.
This software infiltrates all types of operating systems including Windows, Apple, Linux, Android, MediaTek, OpenBSD, FireStick, Fire TV Stick etc. As long as your device has the ability to connect to Wi-Fi, you’re vulnerable to attacks.
Can the Internet Service Provider Track You?
Most countries around the world are not prepared to regulate how much information ISPs can access. This means it’s totally legal for your ISP to track your connection and manipulate it for its own ends, and they can even use your personal information as they wish and you’ll never even know about it.
However, the European Union is taking measures to diminish the access and influence that ISPs have over user data. This is all thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which means ISPs must get customer consent before storing their personal data. This enables users to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks in the EU.
How to Protect Your Online Identity?
The good news is there are ways to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks, including the following tips:
- Don’t use internet banking or other sensitive accounts when browsing through a public Wi-Fi network so that you can protect your private data.
- Turn off the Wi-Fi on your device so that you don’t accidentally connect to a public network.
- Stay safe on public Wi-Fi by using a firewall and switching off your device’s sharing services.
- Use a VPN service such as IPVanish to protect your private information and keep your connection secure even when you’re using a public Wi-Fi network.
Do you have any other tips or recommendations on how to stay safe on public Wi-Fi? Please let us know in the comments section below.