Public Wi-Fi : concerns and precautions
Whether in airports, train stations, restaurants, hotels or even universities, Wi-Fi is everywhere nowadays, and everyone could gain access. But this open network underlines an important question: why is it not secure? And what can we do about it?
To begin with, a “public network” is a network that is accessible for anyone meaning that it is impossible to control who could and couldn’t gain access.
In fact, being accessible for everyone makes public wifi a vulnerable network in which cyber-criminals could be lurking waiting for their next victim.
The main risk that could present a public Wi-Fi is “a man in the middle attack”, that is when a hacker succeeds in placing himself between the user and an application so he could have access to the private information that is being transferred to use it in illegal activities.
However, sometimes we find ourselves in situations in which we have no choice but to use a public Wi-Fi, whether on a train or in the lobby in a hotel during vacation time.
Therefore, there are some security measures that should be taken into consideration before and while connecting to a public network to avoid being an easy prey to cyber-criminals.
First, you should avoid sending sensitive information such as your passwords, logging into your bank accounts, or sharing health information as much as possible.
Plus, to be on the safe side, the surfer should make sure that the site he is using is secured with “https” to ensure that the data that is being transferred between the web browser and the website is encrypted and protected.
In addition, using a VPN while connected to public Wi-Fi could help in protecting private information. VPN functions by extending a private network across a public network which helps encrypt the IP address, hide web activity, hide the location.
Finally, it is important to enable the firewall while using a public network. As indicated by its name, a firewall builds a wall that filters the network traffic and the coming data based on pre-established security rules that blocks the entry of malicious traffic such as viruses or malware.
In conclusion, public Wi-Fi will play a key role in the establishment of Smart Cities whether for transportation, tourism, smart cities applications, smart parking or environmental protection and water conservation, which leads to the interrogation about how can we assure its safety.