With more and more things that you can potentially do on the Internet appearing each day, you likely find yourself looking for open public WiFi connections everywhere you go. The good thing about this is that many businesses and public locations offer free WiFi to their visitors. While being so connected and benefiting from being online is clearly a great thing, there are some dangers that come with using open WiFi connections, several of which are covered below.
People Could Be Trying To Steal Your Login Information
The various login credentials that you use for your online accounts could potentially be very lucrative for hackers, which is why this is the first type of information that they will often try to steal from unsuspecting WiFi users. There are a wide range of ways in which a hacker can do this, including hacking into your computer and monitoring your screen from their device or using key-logging software that will record every key that you type for as long as they choose. This is why it is generally not advised to log into your online banking accounts or any other similar ones that contain sensitive information about your personal identity over unprotected networks.
Do Not Leave Your Personal Computer Files Vulnerable
Another thing that hackers could be trying to access through open WiFi is the files on your computer’s harddrive. Take a moment to think of all the files that are on your computer. Which ones could cause major problems for you if they were compromised? While login information to your various accounts can oftentimes be valuable to these hackers, the files that are actually stored on your computer can usually be just as useful to them. Thousands of people each year find that their files have either been copied or deleted without them even realizing it, and having their computers hacked through public Internet connections is often the cause.
The Malware And Viruses On Other Computers Could Put Yours At Risk
When you are using an open WiFi connection that any other computer can use as well, this can often leave your computer susceptible to harmful types of software such as Malware and viruses. This is because these types of programs are often created to expand automatically throughout a network. In other words, harmful software could be installed onto your computer without you knowing it. Malware and various types of viruses can do a wide range of things to harm your computer, its files and your personal online accounts.
These are just a few of the main dangers that could arise when you use public WiFi. If you do still want to use it, there are several things that you can do to reduce your risk of being hacked. Some of these include being careful of what you enter into your computer while you are online, trying to only use networks that require passwords that are given to you and are not completely open, or using virtual private network software to improve your security.
Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher from Texas. He is fascinated with technology and internet crime, and recommends secure hotspots for businesses that intend to offer free public wifi.