Public Wi-Fi networks are dangerous. Many are unencrypted, insecure or improperly configured. While you take a gamble every time you log into a public network, there are a few places where you really are putting your data at risk. Dror Liwer, co-founder and Chief Security Officer of Coronet says that, “The main reason airports are problematic is because most people are taking convenience over security…”. People connect to public Wi-Fi because they want quick, easy, and accessible.
However, quick, easy, and accessible rarely guarantees secure; and Liwer says there are 3 major things you’re putting at risk when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network.
How to Avoid
How can one avoid these risks? The best answer is simple:
Refrain from joining public Wi-Fi network.
“The instinct is that you’re going to jump on,” Liwer said. “Connectivity today is like water and oxygen,we can’t survive without it.” However,if you find yourself in a situation where you truly need to connect to a network, and public Wi-Fi is the best option available, there are a few preventative measures you can take to guard against data breaching.
The first is to update systems regularly, and make sure they include software to protect from malicious networks. Another is to actually listen to software, says Liwer. If it tells you a network is risky, DON’T join it. Often people download software to prevent data crime, and then refuse to listen to it when it warns of an unprotected network!
What to do
If you’re worried that you’ve joined a public network that might have left you vulnerable to a cyber attack, there are a few things you can do after the fact, Liwer said.
First, establish if there is malware on your device and remove it.
Next, Liwer suggests changing all of your passwords to ones that are difficult to replicate, even if it’s painful to do so.
“Your daughter’s name and her birthday are not good passwords,” Liwer said.
While public wi-fi networks are not recommended in any location, there are a few U.S.airports where studies show users are at an increased level of susceptibility.
10 airports where you’re most likely to be hacked:
1. San Diego International Airport
2. John Wayne Airport-Orange County Airport
3. William P Hobby Airport
4. Southwest Florida International Airport
5. Newark Liberty International Airport
6. Dallas Love Field
7. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
8. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
9. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
10. General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport