Don’t you just love free WiFi? If it comes complimentary with your favorite cup of coffee, it becomes even better. However, did you know that you could be exposing yourself to a wide array of threats by doing this? Yes! Public WiFis are swarmed with opportunistic cybercriminals just waiting for you to drop your guard. Unless you are cautious, a criminal can empty your account while you drink your chosen beverage. WiFi Eavesdropping is one of the most common methods hackers use to compromise your private data while you are connected to a public WiFi hotspot.
About Public WiFi Eavesdropping
Whether it’s social media, chat applications, or emails, it’s important to stay connected. As businesses understand their customers’ need to stay connected places like hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, and airports offer free WiFi.
Despite their obvious utility, these hotspots can be among the most dangerous online networks. A hacker might be snooping on all the data that you send online. It includes all usernames and passwords you enter while connected to that WiFi. And if you make a bank transaction, the hackers will have your banking credentials. Not a very comfortable scenario.
In today’s time, we can’t stay without connectivity. Whether uploading photos or checking the slides for the presentation you are supposed to deliver, connectivity is a must. However, if you use a public WiFi to do that, you can easily get hacked. Cybercriminals thrive on the fact that people connect to public WiFi without thinking or taking the necessary precautions.
What’s At Stake?
Once a hacker gets into your device, they can steal all your data. From photos and videos to your bank passwords and credit card numbers and much more, hackers can cause serious damage. The following is a list of the most popular targets for hackers when accessing another person’s device:
- Browsing History
- Login details
- FTP login details
- FTP documents
- Chat history and conversations
- Audio and Video files
- Web addresses
- VNC Sessions
- Details of Encrypted Transactions
- All Transferred Files
- VoIP Details
- All Secure Internet Pages
You might think the multi-encryption on a WiFi makes your data secure, but it’s not entirely true. Encryption is an evolving process and unless you use the latest versions, you are putting yourself at risk. At the same time, hackers are adept and identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities.
The most competent hackers are able to overcome security measure and access your Internet. Through your online facility, they can conduct more illegal activities including access to copyrighted material as well as legally secured content. But the most frightening of all of these is their ability to access your personal information and extort a ransom. There is so much that hackers can do. And they don’t even have to be seasoned hackers. With the right tools, a novice hacker can get access to your data.
Where Do Most Hackers Target People?
The following is a list of the most to least dangerous places where you can become victim to a hacker through WiFi eavesdropping:
- Corporate Business Space.
- Public Places.
- Specific Public WiFis like on the subway.
- In mixed districts which include residences and businesses.
- Densely populated residential zones.
- During long-range wireless ISP driven connections.
- At your home, if it is located separately from other homes.
What Are The Signs That You Are Being Snooped On Through Your WiFi?
The first thing you should do is use your router’s admin interface to login. Make sure you’re not using the default username and password of the router. If it’s the default one, make sure you change the credentials.
Go to wireless network and connected devices. You will see all the devices using your WiFi. If you find a device that’s not yours, it is time to change the login credentials.
Is There A Way to Hide My WiFi?
You might have heard complaints about WiFi stealing. Sometimes, neighbors can steal your WiFi if they get their hands on your username and password. This can be easily avoided by securing your connection with a stronger password.
Is There A Way to Securely Use WiFi Hotspots?
If you are a regular public WiFi user, then you should know how to stay safe online. Here are some ways to do that:
- Use a VPN or Virtual Private Network.
- Make sure you have an antivirus program installed on your device.
- Do not transact through public WiFis or access accounts with personal info.
- Ensure your network is password protected.
- Turn off your connectivity when done using it.
- Don’t share files.
- Log out after using accounts.
- Go to HTTPS sites exclusively.
Another important thing to remember is that WiFi passwords with WPA2 enabled will help in encrypting traffic. However, if you give the password to someone, they can easily see your activity. For businesses, it is best to use the Enterprise mode on the WPA2 for ensuring all activity remains secure and shielded from any snooping.
WiFi Eavesdropping – Final Word
Public WiFi connectivity is great. However, as with all good things in life, there are dangers. Knowing what they are and how you can avoid them is the first step towards secure internet use. It is important to keep in-the-know about all the latest dangers and developments to prevent them. When you secure your network with a VPN, you can enjoy risk-free Internet no matter where you are.