Cyber security is not just securing your PC & mobile devices from the Trojans and Malware attacks; it is more about securing your networks. You need to secure every party of your network. A free and open public Wi-Fi usually brings a smile on everyone’s face, but the fact is that these open public Wi-Fi networks are highly prone to cyber attacks, especially when you are traveling. There are several dangers of using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. In this post, we will learn about Wi-Fi security and some tips & precautions to take to securely access the Internet when traveling. These simple ways will protect your network from the Wi-Fi attacks on the go.
To prevent yourself from these attacks, you first need to learn what kind of attacks your Wi-Fi network is prone to. Some of the trickiest and harmful attacks include Sniffing, Sidejacking, and Social Engineering.
- Sniffing, which is a passive attack basically is based on a sniffer software which steals the data passing through a computer network. While the packet sniffers are actually designed for ethical hacking, troubleshooting and data analysis, the cyber criminals use it for intruding in your networking and stealing the data. Some typical sniffing attacks include- LAN sniff, protocol sniff, ARP sniff, and web password sniffing. Hackers can steal your passwords over WiFi using this technique!
- Sidejacking, also known as session hijacking is a kind of Wi-Fi attack where the attackers use your cookies to impersonate your account and login to any website. While the websites encrypt your login process, they never encrypt your cookies making your account vulnerable. An open Wi-Fi network shares the session cookies through the air which makes your network even more vulnerable and prone to attack.
- Social engineering is a kind of attack where the attackers trick users to break their regular security systems. It is more like conning the users. The commonly used social engineering attacks include- click bait, phishing, scareware and pretexting.
Now when you are aware of these common Wi-Fi attacks, let’s talk about some tips & precautions to take to securely access the Internet when traveling.
Wi-Fi security when Traveling
Keep Your WiFi Off
Usually, we all have a habit of keeping our WiFi open in our mobile devices which automatically gets connected to an open public WiFi network which is not safe. Keep your WiFi off and turn it ON only when you want to use the internet. It is not recommended to use the public WiFi connections unless you have something really important to do. The open WiFi connections which are not secured with a password are usually dangerous as anyone using the same WiFi can intrude and hack your device. All your login details are out in the air.
A Virtual Private Network, often termed as VPN is a kind of private tunnel of your network which secures you from the unwanted intrusion. While traveling, we often use the public Wi-Fi connections for our online money transactions, which can actually be dangerous. But if you are using a VPN, it will hide all your internet activities from the attackers. It is quite easy to set up a VPN for mobile devices, laptops, and tablets. There are several good free VPN software that you can make use of.
Public Charging Stations Are Not Safe
Have you heard about Juice Jacking? It is a way of stealing the entire data stored in your phone via the USB charging cable. When you use the USB port of public charging stations, you actually are granting the hackers to access all your data unknowingly. It is always better to have your own power bank and not to use the public charging stations for your mobile phones.
Before you connect to the public Wi-Fi, make sure that the sharing settings on your devices are turned off. Keeping these settings, ON lead to a data theft obviously.
Carry An Ethernet-Enabled Device
Yes, we can’t imagine our lives without the internet but using the public WiFi ain’t a good option. If you a business traveler and necessarily need the internet access on the go, it is suggested to carry your own Ethernet Port and an Ethernet-enabled device.
While this is an expensive option but is the best one indeed for the business travelers, who need to be online every time. A private/personal hotspot comes in both prepaid and postpaid plans. Personal hotspot protects your online activity and encrypts all your details. All your online activities including the money transactions are secured.
General Tips for International Travelers to protect Digital Security
When you are traveling internationally, you actually need to stay connected with the people in your home country and internet is the only way out. Thus, it becomes even more important to stay careful and watchful about using the public WiFi networks and take some basic steps to secure yourself at public WiFi hotspots in order to protect your data when using unsecured wireless networks.
- Keep the devices physically well protected.
- Encrypt your important and critical files.
- You need to use a VPN software as it will encrypt all the data that your PC sends so that it will not be hackable.
- Monitor your Bluetooth connection in public places to ensure others are not intercepting your transfer of data.
- Using the unencrypted networks is highly risky as all your details are easily hackable then.
- Keeping the WiFi Off when not in use is another very important tip.
- Also, one must avoid downloading or installing any updates on the devices when traveling internationally. This is because the hackers usually trick the users with such update notifications to intrude into your system.
- Check your Location service. Do you want people to know where you are?
- It’s best if you can use a cabled connection or buy an an unlimited data plan for your device and stop using public Wi-Fi altogether
These were some of our tips and tricks to stay safe while accessing the internet on the go. If you have some more of such tips, we would love to hear them.