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Prevalent Wi-Fi Security Risks

It seems that no matter where you go, you can find Wi-Fi and connect to the world through the internet. Although this technology is an amazing element of our daily lives, it is not without its risks. In fact, the more it becomes available, the more hackers and thieves try to steal your information.

Airports were one of the first public areas to adopt Wi-Fi as a perk for waiting travellers. But, as anyone now can tell you, there are security risks involved. BTN writes that:

“Unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots are a hacker’s dream, I can’t think of another way to put it,” says Phil Blank, a senior research analyst at Javelin Strategy and Research. “If you are in an airport or a public spot, even with SSL — secure socket layer encryption, which protects most consumer Web banking traffic — that doesn’t necessarily protect you. There are tools and techniques that allow hackers to exploit systems.”

Recently, Wi-Fi became available in many airlines, giving passengers the ability to work and play while flying. But upon further investigation, it seems that these networks are barely protected, and leave a large gap for hackers to come in and turn your machine against you. We see the same issues as are in airports and other public Wi-Fi networks, as reported by Forbes:

Passengers need to be aware of the security vulnerabilities of accessing any public wireless network from a laptop while on board an aircraft or cruise ship or from other public venues.

You may feel you’re secure by logging into your mail server, office, bank, or brokerage with SSL or TLS encryption. Yes, the session is secure, but your computer is a different story. If it has security vulnerabilities that have not been fixed by software updates, then it can be compromised at a lower level and the contents of your session captured in an unencrypted state.

Basically, if your system is not fully updated for every security patch available from Microsoft or Apple, and if you haven’t personally secured your machine better than the hackers can match, you should not do any amount of digital banking on a public Wi-Fi connection. This has become such an issue that some countries are dispatching the police to search for unprotected Wi-Fi networks.

Do yourself a favor and protect yourself before you become a victim of identity theift:

  1. Always have your computer, phone, and tablets updated with all vendor patches
  2. Use programs to protect you like MalwareBytes or Webroot.
  3. Use a VPN like BolehVPN
  4. Turn your Bluetooth off
  5. Use an encryption level of at least WPA2

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3 Responses to “Prevalent Wi-Fi Security Risks”

  1. dachi Says:

    does using a vpn over unprotected wi-fi make my system safe?
    I’d think vpn = sessions as well?

  2. adam Says:

    3. Use a VPN like BolehVPN

    so if we access local banking website, we need KL BolehRoute!

  3. Reuben Says:

    @dachi: depends what you mean by system safe :D But yes it does protect all your internet traffic from prying eyes.

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