Why Securing Public Wi-Fi is More Important Than Ever

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The convenience of highly-accessible public Wi-Fi often comes at a cost. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks can expose users to cyber threats including identity theft, financial fraud, and data breaches. In the recent webinar, Why Securing Public Wi-Fi is More Important Than Ever, Carl Levine—network security expert with almost 30 years of experience—is interviewed about the scale of impact, risks, and safe practices

Q: What are the primary risks associated with unsecured Wi-Fi networks?

CL: The biggest risk with unsecured Wi-Fi networks is the lack of encryption. When you connect to an unsecured network, anyone else on that network can easily intercept the data you're sending or receiving. This includes personal and financial information, which can further lead to identity theft and other types of fraud.

Q: What methods do attackers use to exploit these vulnerabilities?

CL: Attackers use a number of tools to exploit these vulnerabilities. One common method involves devices known as Pineapples. These devices can mimic legitimate Wi-Fi networks, tricking devices into connecting to them instead of the genuine network. Once they are connected, attackers can monitor all traffic, extract sensitive data, and even inject and spread malware.

Q: How can individuals and organizations protect themselves from such attacks?

CL: To protect against these types of attacks, it’s important to use secure Wi-Fi protocols that include encryption, like the ones offered by modern Wi-Fi standards such as Wi-Fi 6 and 7. Additionally, individuals should be extremely careful about connecting to public Wi-Fi networks without using a VPN to encrypt their data. For organizations, implementing strong network security measures, training, and educating the employees about the risks and how to avoid them is crucial.

Q: Can you suggest any best practices for using public Wi-Fi safely?

CL: Always verify the network name with the establishment providing the Wi-Fi. This avoids any chance of connecting to mimic networks set up by attackers. Using a VPN is a must when connecting to public Wi-Fi as it encrypts your internet traffic, making it more difficult for anyone else on the network to see what you're doing or steal your information without your knowledge. Also, keeping your device's software and security features up to date is critical in protecting against the latest threats.

Wi-Fi networks provide valuable connectivity. At the same time, they come with significant security risks that should not be underestimated. Hear more from this interview with DNSFilter’s Carl Levine about the security of public Wi-Fi in the replay of Why Securing Public Wi-Fi is More Important Than Ever. 

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