Why Using FREE Wi-Fi Could Ruin Your Holiday

By:  |  Category: Blog Tuesday, December 24th, 2019  |  No Comments

In the hustle and bustle of all this holiday traveling, we tend to get swept up in the moment. Then of course, there are those of us who want to post that special moment to social media (immediately), and if you’re tight on gigs, you might have to log on to the closest accessible free internet to press share.

The FBI has been issuing quite a few cybersecurity warnings lately and well, here is another one:

“Don’t allow your phone, computer, tablet, or other devices to auto-connect to a free wireless network while you are away from home.”

Hotels and airports have the most frequently accessed ‘free’ WiFi, and although it’s been advised to almost every audience, we’re here to remind you why this isn’t always the best option.

In the FBI’s weekly tech advice column, the topic is discussed more in-depth, “[free WiFi] is an open invitation for bad actors to access your device. They then can load malware, steal your passwords and PINs, or even take remote control of your contacts and camera.”

So how are we supposed to check our email, scroll through our feeds, and upload pictures and videos of our holiday meals on-the-go?

Don’t worry too much, we still can. But if we MUST use the hotel, Starbucks, or airport WiFi, the FBI advises that “users refrain from using a public, free, or untrusted WiFi connection for sensitive operations like checking bank accounts.”

“A hacker would love your user ID and password – don’t give it to them,” the FBI said, so leave your financial information untouched while tethered to a free network.

Traffic on public WiFi networks can be easily intercepted, leaving your data accessible to someone who could be sitting only feet away, and seemingly harmless (they’re not though, believe us).  

It’s even possible to hijack encrypted HTTPS traffic. “If the attacker is in control of the WiFi router or access point (they physically own the device, or they’ve hacked it)” So although your connected may be loaded via HTTPS, it’s a better idea not to use public WiFi for sensitive information.

The FBI’s recommendation? “Use your mobile data plan instead.”

Your phone’s mobile data connection is far safer than an untrusted, open, publicly accessible WiFi. If you need to access the internet on your laptop, use your phone as a mobile hotspot using your phone’s data plan.

One last tip from our FBI friends includes a separate network for guests. For those of you who are not traveling but instead receiving friends and family this holiday season, “That way, if they are running unsecured devices on your network, you can segregate their vulnerabilities from your sensitive data.”

If you need assistance with IT Managed Services or Security give EnhancedTECH a call at 714-970-9330 or contact us at [email protected]

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/fbi-warns-against-using-free-wifi-networks-while-traveling/?ftag=TRE-03-10aaa6b&bhid=28837826891618282212917048574090

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/X0EtNWqMnq8

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