How to fix Public and Home Wi-Fi Network vulnerabilities

Most of us have almost discarded network cables and rely on wireless for connecting to other computers as well as to the Internet. The wired Internet is more secure as it reduces the chances of hackers snooping in. But wireless travels in all directions (even if you use unidirectional antennas, they branch out after a certain length). Cybercriminals can easily hack into these signals and know what you are doing. They steal your data and use it for own purposes. We have talked about problems with public WiFi as well as dangers of using wireless Internet in the past. This post once again reminds you that you need to take certain steps to secure both home and public networks and make them secure when using WiFi.

WiFi Vulnerabilities

Vulnerabilities in Public Wi-Fi

Most of the public places now offer free WiFi as part of providing you with the better experience. Even the railway is now giving public WiFi for free when you are on long distance trains, not to mentions airports, hotel lounges, cafes and more. We had earlier posted about dangers of public WiFi. Let’s be more specific here about vulnerabilities of Public WiFi.

First of all, it is very easier to get your login credentials when on a public WiFi. There are devices available that can tell the IP addresses of computers in the range using the same public WiFi, and from there, cyber criminals can carry out their operations to know what are the different users of the WiFi doing.

Not all the public WiFi use encryption and even if they use one, they use a weaker encryption so that all types of devices can work on the WiFi. The cybercriminals just need to be in the range of public WiFi – may be directly logged in or might be using some hacking device that shows what all is happening on the network. If a web page employs simple text method for login, the password and ID are sent in plain text that can be easily accessed by cybercriminals.

For example, a URL like can tell you the login credentials of the website in question.

Fix Public WiFi Vulnerabilities

There is not much you can do to fix Public WiFi vulnerabilities. Just make sure File and Printer sharing is turned off. Right click on the Internet icon in System Tray and click on Open Network and Sharing settings. From there, go to Advanced Sharing settings and turn off File and printer sharing.

Among other precautions,

  1. Never use Public WiFi for working on confidential information
  2. If you have to use a website that needs information about you or your credit card, try using a VPN service to encrypt the data packets; there are many free VPN services (and I prefer SpotFlux)
  3.  Follow these WiFi Security Tips.

Home Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities

We tend to feel safer when using WiFi at home, but they too are vulnerable to brute force attacks and other forms of hacking. Among the foremost precautions, you should take to fix Home WiFi vulnerabilities is to turn off WPS (WiFi Protected Setup).

Though the WPS is considered a security feature, experts urge users to turn it off as it can easily compromise your router to external attacks. You will have to open router page and make changes there as an administer. The method to turn off WPS is different for different models of routers, so you’ll have to check with your manufacturer’s website. However, if you are good at troubleshooting, you can locate the option simply by browsing through existing tabs, etc. in the router page.

It goes without saying that the WiFi password should be strong enough. Try to use strong passwords (if you feel you will forget it, you can note it down and keep it in your purse or somewhere). Random strings of characters are best.

Finally, check to see if the security protocol being used for the handshake is WPA2. Some routers provide it as WPA/WPA2. This option too is available in router configuration page.

If you are using Windows 10, turn off WiFi Sense so that your computer is not compromised by one of the people sharing your Internet connection.

Freeware Bitdefender Home Scanner will scan your Home Network for vulnerabilities.

This intends to serve as a general guide to Public and Home WiFi Vulnerabilities and how to fix them. Know that even with all precautions we take, there are still vulnerabilities with WiFi (or even with wired connections), but if you take the precautions, chances of you getting hacked will reduce.

Stay safe!

Posted by on , in Category Security with Tags
Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN


  1. Gunny Raj

    How about WPA2-PSK as Authentication Type & TKIP/AES as Encryption Mechanism with a Pre-Shared Key defined by user ?
    How is it that my DNS Servers defined by me as OpenDNS ( &, gets changed randomly by (,, (,, (, & (,, I keep changing back to OpenDNS on my Default Router Page, changed my password several times, but no affect, now, I have to keep my Router Page OPEN & REFRESHED in other Browser to check to see if the DNS hasn’t changed, I have run all DNS changer software to detect if a DNS changer Virus, but found nothing by any Software, I believe my ISP is doing so on purpose, do suggest any remedy ?

  2. Arun Kumar

    TKIP is not considered safe but AES is good. So if you have AES option, you should use it. It may slow down your network though. Not all routers have the option.
    I cannot think of anything except a malware that is changing the DNS. The second DNS in each set is Google DNS while the first ones don’t sound like DNS servers. is simply a website if you check it by entering it into address bar. Maybe you should change your router password to something else and see if it is still happening.

  3. Anubis

    I think there is a typo in the post. It should be WPA2,instead of WEP2. The line should read, “…handshake is WPA2. Some routers provide it as WPA/WPA2. This option too is available in router configuration page.”

  4. Arun Kumar

    Thanks for pointing it out. We will correct it. Dunno why I wrote WEP there.

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