What a Hacker Sees When You Use Unsecured Wifi
Using unsecured public WiFi hotspots can result in hackers seeing far more about what you are doing, saying, and sharing than you likely thought possible.
For working professionals and students, free public WiFi makes it easy to get things done while on the go. When online, it’s easy to think that your password protected email accounts are always kept safe from prying eyes. That isn’t the case, however, if you are taking advantage of unsecured WiFi access.
The reason that the public loves WiFi hotspots is the same reason that eavesdropping hackers love them too: no authentication. Without requiring authentication to establish a network connection, a hacker can easily get access to any unsecured devices using the same network.
In short, the hacker works it out so that your information is sent directly to them. They then pass the information on — it doesn’t head to the original connection point.
What Information Can a Hacker Steal?
It turns out that a hacker can access a wealth of information over free, unsecured public WiFi. You are potentially sharing with an eavesdropper your passwords, emails, texts, credit card information, and whatever you are doing over the free internet hotspot.
All of the information you send can then be used by a hacker whenever they want to use it. It could be that moment or it could be weeks later. He or she can then access whatever systems or programs you were using and pretend to be you.
What’s worse, these unsecured networks can be used to send malware your way. If you are allowing file-sharing over the network, your computer can easily become infected. In fact, some hackers are even making the hotspot itself a piece of malware. These attacks typically offer an upgrade to some sort of popular software, but when you click the window, malware will be installed.
How To Prevent Eavesdropping
You don’t have to skip the public WiFi — just be smart about using it. Try to connect to public networks that have good passwords instead of unsecured WiFi, and don’t browse through sensitive accounts like your online bank account while connected. If you don’t need WiFi, don’t automatically connect to it.