Starbucks, the airport, even the restaurant you had dinner in last night – what do they all have in common? The all offer Wi-Fi – and easy hacker access to your computer, tablet or smartphone. 90 percent of mobile devices are not protected from such intruders, according to leading research firm Gartner.
Public Wi-Fi networks are virtually unsecured, often don’t require a password and are a new target for people who want to break into your computer. Not only in public places but also offices – nowhere is safe. FBI cybercrimes investigators say you have to assume that anything you are doing on such networks is being monitored.
How to they attack you? Wi-Fi, or wireless internet, sends internet webpages to devices via radio waves. Hot spots are an area within range of a Wi-Fi antenna. Computers used at wireless access points often don’t have intrusion-detection devices and are unwittingly broadcasting the network they are part of to hackers. Once compromised, the bank details, contacts, company data and family photos on you computer are all at risk.
What to do? Well, a simple piece of cheap software called a Virtual Private Network (VPN) builds a private, secure tunnel between your computer or iPhone to the internet, encrypting your activity and keep prying eyes out. Some providers are so advanced they even offer government-grade encryption technology to the public at super low prices.
The internet is a vital part of our lives. We connect to it wherever, whenever. Surf safely with a VPN.