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Hackers explain hidden dangers of public Wi-Fi and how to avoid them

A digital privacy expert has recently detailed concerns around unsafe public Wi-Fi and how to avoid being hacked.

There is no doubt internet security is a top priority when scrolling online, and a digital privacy expert has recently discussed unsafe public Wi-Fi with hackers in closed online forums.

Japan country Manager at NordVPN, Paul Ashton, says people are constantly looking for ways to reduce their personal data usage which is what makes public wifi an appealing option to connect to.

“Unfortunately, public places make a good cover for hackers who can easily set up malicious hotspots and steal people’s data, without you even realising,” he says.

Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN, discussed the risks of unsafe public Wi-Fi with a couple of hackers in closed online forums.

From a NordVPN study, hackers agreed on two common points that can make any public Wi-Fi hotspot vulnerable which include poor router configuration and lack of a strong password. They claim it can take a couple of minutes to start peeking at confidential information sent from a device connected to unsecured Wi-Fi.

If you’re lucky, the snooper may just read your browsing activity. But in the worst-case scenario, they can steal all your sensitive information, including passwords and credit card details.

As your device is constantly looking for trusted Wi-Fi networks, stalkers can use these connection requests to find out where you live. It’s enough to type it on public website that creates heatmaps of Wi-Fi hotspots, such as Wigle.net.

Markuson has provides some useful tips on what you should do to protect your devices and information they hold:

  • When connecting to Wi-Fi in a coffee shop or hotel, always double-check the network name with a member of staff. Remember, hackers might create fake Wi-Fi- hotspots using names that look trustworthy.
  • On public Wi-Fi, avoid visiting sensitive websites, logging into your social accounts, and never perform any banking transactions. Public Wi-Fi is best for browsing the internet.
  • Enable your firewall. Most operating systems have built-in firewall, which keeps outsiders from going through your computer’s data.
  • Use a VPN (virtual private network). Reliable VPN will make sure your online connections are private and no sensitive data can get into the hands of criminals.
  • Remember to turn off the Wi-Fi function on your device when not using it.

Stay safe out there!

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