Stay safe us­ing pub­lic Wi-Fi

Kasper­sky Lab pro­vides tips

Middle East Business (English) - - NEWS -

In a re­cent sur­vey, 70% of tablet own­ers and 53% of smart­phone/mo­bile phone own­ers stated that they use pub­lic Wi-Fi hotspots. How­ever, be­cause data sent through pub­lic Wi-Fi can eas­ily be in­ter­cepted, many mo­bile de­vice and lap­top users are risk­ing the se­cu­rity of their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, dig­i­tal iden­tity and money. Fur­ther­more, if their de­vice or com­puter is not pro­tected by an ef­fec­tive se­cu­rity and anti-mal­ware prod­uct... the risks are even greater.

With cof­fee shops, ho­tels, shop­ping malls, air­ports and many other lo­ca­tions of­fer­ing their cus­tomers free ac­cess to pub­lic Wi-Fi, it’s a con­ve­nient way to check your emails, catch up on so­cial net­work­ing or surf the web when you’re out and about. How­ever, cy­ber­crim­i­nals will of­ten spy on pub­lic Wi-Fi net­works and in­ter­cept data that is trans­ferred across the link. In this way, the crim­i­nal can ac­cess users’ bank­ing cre­den­tials, ac­count pass­words and other valu­able in­for­ma­tion. Wi-Fi net­works man­aged by ho­tels can be of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to hack­ers as they can of­ten house many high-level ex­ec­u­tives.

Here are some use­ful tips from Kasper­sky Lab’s team of in­ter­net se­cu­rity ex­perts:

• Be aware Pub­lic Wi-Fi is in­her­ently in­se­cure — so be cau­tious.

• Re­mem­ber — any de­vice could be at risk

Laptops, smart­phones and tablets are all sus­cep­ti­ble to the wire­less se­cu­rity risks.

• Treat all Wi-Fi links with sus­pi­cion

Don’t just as­sume that the Wi-Fi link is le­git­i­mate. It could be a bo­gus link that has been set up by a cy­ber­crim­i­nal that’s try­ing to cap­ture valu­able, per­sonal in­for­ma­tion from un­sus­pect­ing users. Ques­tion ev­ery­thing — and don’t con­nect to an un­known or un­recog­nised wire­less ac­cess point.

• Try to ver­ify it’s a le­git­i­mate wire­less con­nec­tion Some bo­gus links — that have been set up by ma­li­cious users — will have a con­nec­tion name that’s de­lib­er­ately sim­i­lar to the cof­fee shop, ho­tel or venue that’s of­fer­ing free Wi-Fi. If you can speak with an em­ployee at the lo­ca­tion that’s pro­vid­ing the pub­lic Wi-Fi con­nec­tion, ask for in­for­ma­tion about their le­git­i­mate Wi-Fi ac­cess point — such as the con­nec­tion’s name and IP ad­dress.

• Use a VPN (vir­tual pri­vate net­work)

• By us­ing a VPN when you con­nect to a pub­lic Wi-Fi net­work, you’ll ef­fec­tively be us­ing a ‘pri­vate tun­nel’ that en­crypts all of your data that passes through the net­work. This can help to pre­vent cy­ber­crim­i­nals — that are lurk­ing on the net­work — from in­ter­cept­ing your data. • Avoid us­ing spe­cific types of web­site

It’s a good idea to avoid log­ging into web­sites where there’s a chance that cy­ber­crim­i­nals could cap­ture your iden­tity, pass­words or per­sonal in­for­ma­tion — such as so­cial net­work­ing sites, on­line bank­ing ser­vices or any web­sites that store your credit card in­for­ma­tion.

• Con­sider us­ing your mo­bile phone

If you need to ac­cess any web­sites that store or re­quire the in­put of any sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion — in­clud­ing so­cial net­works, on­line shop­ping and on­line bank­ing sites — it may be worth­while ac­cess­ing them via your mo­bile phone net­work, in­stead of the pub­lic Wi-Fi con­nec­tion.

• Pro­tect your de­vice against cy­ber­at­tacks

Make sure all of your de­vices are pro­tected by vig­or­ous anti-mal­ware and se­cu­rity soft­ware — and en­sure that it’s up­dated as reg­u­larly as pos­si­ble.

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