They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. There is however such a thing as free internet, which is a good thing- we now expect the World Wide Web on tap wherever we go- just like electricity and water. So to feed our addiction, it has become increasingly popular for the public places we inhabit, (admit it- McDonalds, Starbucks…) to offer themselves as ‘Wi-Fi hotspots’.
But hold on a second, as with the free lunch, there’s a catch: Wi-Fi technology now has the potential to bypass almost all existing IT security systems.
This potential smorgasbord of information has lured hackers to create ‘Spoof Wi-Fi’ zones in order to access personal information and causing other security nightmares such as viruses and harmful spyware.
Word of caution: Anyone has the ability to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot and can name it whatever they want. Just because it says it’s Wagamama’s Wi-Fi doesn’t mean it’s Wagamama’s Wi-Fi.
Here’s a few tips to ensure when you log-in on the move, your data doesn’t log-out:
1. If you’re unsure if a Wi-Fi hotspot is legit, ask a member of staff if Wi-Fi access is available. It will usually be advertised, but ask if you’re unsure
2. Most legitimate hotspots will require a password code, which you can ask for to ensure you’re making a safe connection
3. Be aware of your internet connection at all times. If your device automatically connects to a Wi-Fi zone that you are unsure of, turn your connection off
4. If your device has its own Wi-Fi access point, configure them to ‘hide’ or ‘randomise’ the ID name it uses to distinguish itself to users. Call it something that doesn’t associate it to you, your business or location
5. Configure your wireless access points to a unique password. All new access points come with a default password like ‘1234’ or ‘password’ that most people never change. Make sure you change it to a secret password containing characters and numbers, and change it regularly.
To download our 'Securing your public WiFi' Factsheet click here.