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The Hidden Dangers of Free Public Wi-Fi: What Travelers Need to Know

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jul8,2024

The Hidden Dangers of Free Public Wi-Fi: What Travelers Need to Know

Be careful when using public Wi-Fi/senivpetro

According to a new study by eSIM provider Saily, 58% of Americans use free public Wi-Fi while traveling. Although this is a convenient and cheap way to use the Internet while traveling, it also leads to certain problems with cyber security.

The publication GSMarena told what the threat of free public Wi-Fi is. Pay attention to these points in order not to have problems with personal data and their loss.

“There are many cyber security challenges associated with public Wi-Fi,” says Vikintas Maknikas, Head of Product Strategy at Nord Security. phone or laptop and a Wi-Fi network to eavesdrop on your data or install malware – this is just one example of an attack where criminals can steal session cookies and gain unauthorized access to your credentials user records, – another example”.

Dangers of public Wi-Fi

Apart from the aforementioned types of attacks, hackers can also use different methods to abuse public Wi-Fi. For example, they can create unauthorized hotspots – fake Wi-Fi networks that imitate legitimate ones. When a user connects to such hotspots, criminals can gain access to the device and steal data.

Another type of attack is called a malicious double attack – similar to rogue hotspots, a spoof attack involves creating a network with the same name as a legitimate public Wi-Fi network, such as a hotel or cafe. Users can unknowingly connect to an “evil doppelgänger” and give attackers the opportunity to intercept their communications.

Finally, cybercriminals can use special software to “sniff” data being transmitted over a public Wi-Fi network – this type of attack is simply called “sniffing”.

Time spent online while traveling

Examining what exactly people use the Internet for while traveling, Saily's survey found that overall, American travelers spend a significant amount of time online. Only about a quarter spend less than two hours a day on the Internet, and most exceed this limit.

As for online activity, 56% of respondents say that most of their time on the Internet is spent communicating, and 50% – to share information in social networks.

Awesome 42% use the Internet to manage money – making payments and transactions.

“Especially for money-related tasks, I would strongly recommend using mobile networks over public Wi-Fi. If leaked, this kind of sensitive information can be particularly damaging harm to the victim”, – says Vikintas Maknikas, Head of Product Strategy at Nord Security.

What do the experts recommend?

While it's understandable that travelers are looking for the most convenient and cheapest options to access the Internet, Macnikas recommends considering alternative Internet options.

Mobile Internet is more secure, especially when considering activities such as online banking, – says Vikintas Maknikas, Head of Product Strategy at Nord Security. – Today, there are also affordable options such as eSIM cards or international data packages, so users don't have to sacrifice security for a lower price.

However, for those considering using public Wi-Fi, he recommends taking the following steps to protect the connection:

  • Avoid access to confidential information – refrain from accessing banking sites, making online purchases or entering sensitive information while using public Wi-Fi – for such tasks it is better to use mobile data.
  • Forget the network – after using a public Wi-Fi network, select the “forget network” option on your device to prevent automatic reconnection in the future.
  • Update your software – make sure your operating system, browsers and applications have the latest security patches.
  • Use a VPN (virtual private network) – A VPN encrypts your internet connection, making it much more difficult for attackers to intercept your data.
Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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