Urgent hacking warning issued to anyone who uses public WiFi

Phishing, mobile phone hacker or cyber scam concept
Using public WiFi can be risky business experts warn -Credit:Getty

An urgent warning has been issued to anyone who often connects to public WiFi. It is usually a huge relief to discover free WiFi at the an airport, train station, coffee shop or hotel.

However, it’s important to realise that these connections aren’t always as secure as you might think. Sometimes, public WiFi can have poor security, making it very easy way for hackers to take advantage of it.

Without proper precautions, hackers can override a public WiFi’s lax security to spy on you, steal your personal information and passwords. There is even a risk of hackers taking over your online accounts.

Highlighting all the ways you can stay safe online, Vincent lachetta Jr, president of Peppermonkey Media, has shared the reasons why you should think twice before connecting to public WiFi.

What Are The Dangers?

Man-In-The-Middle Attacks

Man-in-the-middle attacks are where hackers break into the public network and view your data as it passes from your connected device to the WiFi router. Vincent says: "If you’re doing online banking at the time, hackers can see your passwords and account information. They can steal your credit card number, email address, and other personal details."

Evil Twin Attacks

When you’re looking for a public WiFi hotspot, you may discover a lookalike to the correct one. It might be named something like, ‘Free University Wi-Fi1’ or ‘Station Wi-Fi234’. But by using this clone instead of the correct network, you’re connecting right to the scammers, meaning you could expose your private data.

Malware-Infected Networks

According to Vincent: "If hackers infect a network, they can send software bugs to any device connected to it. If you suddenly see a pop-up, don’t click on it because it could contain an infected link."

Session Hijacking

If a cybercriminal gains access to your device while you’re browsing online, they can copy your data. Next, they’ll hijack your browsing session and masquerade as you. In turn, they can steal your money, personal details, or identity.

How Can You Stay Safe?

Vincent has some top tips for beating scammers on public networks:

  • Always use A VPN (Virtual Private Network) when using public WiFi. It’ll encrypt all your data so that it can’t be viewed by hackers.

  • Use a Password Manager so that cybercriminals can’t view your password.

Vincent also says: "You should also never conduct sensitive activities such as online banking when using free WiFi. If you really have to look at your banking info, do it via an app using 4G."

In the end, though, Vincent’s most simple advice is: "Use your mobile data rather than risking public WiFi. The inconvenience of using up your data is nothing to what you’ll face if your personal details are stolen by scammers."