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Cybercrime experts have warned against the use of free public WiFi, saying that it is unsecure, exposing one to hackers.
They argued that most people who rely on public WiFi to get online are willing to sacrifice security for access.
Specifically, Mr. Oluseyi Akindeinde, Chief Technical officer, Digital Encode, warned people to beware of using free WiFi because it enabled hackers to have easy access their personal data.
He said, “Nowadays, when people go for events or lodge at hotels, they don’t care about the food and drinks but to have free access to public WiFi.”
Akindeinde said most people clamour for free WiFi not knowing the dangers associated with using it. “Using free WiFi exposes the consumer to hackers and in the process they get to view personal information like bank details, credentials and so many other things. Because the WiFi is free, it does not require any authentication before the hacker can have access to the network connection. Free public Wifi creates an amazing opportunity for the hacker to get unfettered access to unsecured devices on the same network,’ he said.
He said that biggest threat to free Wi-Fi was the ability for the hacker to position himself between the consumer and the connection point. “Free WiFi usually came with a costly price and sadly only few people understood risks associated with public WiFi connection. He warned consumers to desist from this in order to protect themselves and also ensure that important business data remained safe.
Kevin Clark, an expert in cybercrime said, “Public Wi-Fi is inherently unsecure. Anyone using it ought to do so with the premise that everything you do is visible to a third-party stranger with access to that hot spot. The chances of you being hacked far exceed the chances of your home being burglarized. This is a big business.”
“Public Wi-Fi is almost everywhere in stores, libraries and restaurants and soon on commuter trains and in stations but so is the danger. The best advice for users is not to be lulled by the convenience of Wi-Fi, to be skeptical and to take your own precautions to secure your computer and information”, Clark said.
Fran Rosch, Executive Vice President at Symantec also explained that, there is a deep divide between what people think is safe when it comes to using public Wi-Fi versus the reality,. “What someone thinks is private on their personal device can easily be accessed by cybercriminals through unsecure Wi-Fi networks or even apps with privacy vulnerabilities.”
Kevin Haley, Director of Norton Security Response, in his own contribution said their research shows that many people believe companies wouldn’t offer free Wi-Fi if it weren’t safe. “Unfortunately, that’s not the case. And it doesn’t take a sophisticated criminal to hack in to these public systems.