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Free WIFI, what's the catch?

Sep 18, 2019

It might seem harmless enough, but is logging into public WiFi, the likes of which you find in cafes, hotels, stations, or even trains and buses a security risk?

Many people don't think about it, and simply log-in to check emails or have a look at their social media whilst drinking a coffee, but data sent via public WiFi is really easy to intercept, and there may be people looking to use your harmless-seeming connection to gain access to personal information, financial details, or even confidential work information. 

There are two types of public WiFi, secured and unsecured. Unsecured means you can just sign in to the network, secured will require you to agree to legal terms and conditions, create an account, or put in a password before connecting. Don't be fooled by the fact that you're putting in a password though, both secured and unsecured WiFi should be used with caution. 

It doesn't matter what device you're using

Any device can be at risk of a breach. Whether you're using Apple or Windows, a phone, tablet or laptop, they're all susceptible to risks presented by wireless security. 

Verify the connection

Sometimes malicious users will set up WiFi links with similar names to the coffee shop or place that's offering the free WiFi. The best thing to do is speak to someone who works there, and ask what the name of the connection actually is, and the IP address to make sure you're connecting to the right one. 

Choose the websites you visit wisely

It is possible to intercept login information, so avoiding websites which involve personal information, financial information or passwords such as social media and online banking, will ensure that no-one will be able to intercept your data. If you need to access such websites, rather than logging into WiFi it would be a good idea to use your phone's network instead. 

Use a VPN (Virtual private network)

A VPN creates a 'private tunnel' which encrypts all of your data passing through it which can help prevent anyone on the network harbouring malicious intent from intercepting your private data. This is the best option for those needing to do work on the go. 

If you would like any more information about providing public WiFi to your customers, or making your team more aware of the risks when working out of the office, contact us and we'll be happy to help. 

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