The holiday season is here and we start to downplay summer threats. I am not talking about dangers of UV light or a risk of heatstroke. Today’s issue is internet security and the bad guys trying to break it. When you start to enjoy summer sunshine and plan your vacation, instead of thinking about all the passwords, security routines and such boring stuff, hackers are prepared to take advantage of your incautiousness. They love when you are away from home. It makes you vulnerable and there are many ways how to abuse this vulnerability. For example, public Wi-Fi networks provide hackers with a useful tool to steal your identity and clean out your bank account.
Public wireless networks are hardly ever secure. They are often set up without proper security settings and the risk of data breach is very high. From a data-security standpoint, travel is inherently risky – you are leaving a ‘secure area’ of your home and often using free Wi-Fi internet connections – at airports, in hotels, restaurants or bars. Travellers use many open and unmonitored networks without knowing they could unwittingly expose themselves to data loss by logging on. It’s not very difficult to ‘wiretap’ public Wi-Fi for hackers. Thus, not only the owner of the network, but also a third party can monitor the traffic going across the Wi-Fi. Hackers are able to pick up information about websites you visit or, what’s even worse, what passwords you use, what you write in your e-mails or other sensitive information, which you don’t want to share with others.
Another way how to compromise your private data is to ‘imitate’ hotspots in public places which seems like a legitimate network (named by some neighbouring institution or cafe). People see ‘free Wi-Fi’ at the top of the list of available connections and click on it without realizing that they open themselves up to great exposure. And while they are surfing the internet, hackers are collecting all useful and sensitive information, for example credit card data, access password to internet banking, e-mail or Facebook accounts. These may come in handy for hackers, don’t you think?
So how can we protect ourselves? It is necessary to always use some security software and keep it updated. Protection of personal data with encryption and doing regular backup is also very important. One also has to make sure that they are connecting to legitimate Wi-Fi networks and if they have any doubts, it is necessary to ban this connection in their laptop or mobile phone. Users have to be cautious of doing anything sensitive on Wi-Fi spots and avoid transmitting personal information, such as credit card details or passwords. And what is the most important? The use of common sense so that hackers will not ruin ones desired holiday.