The world is increasingly reliant upon the internet, but as a result it’s easier than ever to work remotely. When travelling or working anywhere out of the office, public wi-fi is a convenient way to keep up to date, and depending upon where you are it can be more reliable and cost effective compared to using mobile data. However, public wi-fi can increase your risk of a cyber security attack so it’s important to do everything you can to keep defences high. In this edition of our newsletter, we will outline the risks public wi-fi can pose and what you can do to try and combat them.

Joining a public wi-fi network means sharing it with all other users who are accessing it, including cyber criminals lying in wait to try and steal sensitive data from unsuspecting users with vulnerable systems. If able to gain access to your device, they will attempt to gain login details including passwords, steal sensitive or confidential information or launch ransomware attacks or phishing campaigns. Knowing how these hackers operate helps you know the measures you can put in place to reduce the likelihood of them choosing you as their next victim.

Ensure the network you’re joining is the legitimate one of the establishment providing it. Always ask to confirm if you’re uncertain. Cybercriminals can use similar names to mimic public networks.

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts information you transmit, so even if a hacker were to gain access to your network, the data would be nigh-impossible to decode. Cyber criminals target weak subjects and using a VPN makes you very strong.

Be mindful that you are using a public network, we are so accustomed to using the internet it can be easy to get complacent. Change the settings on your device so that it doesn’t automatically connect to public networks; try and avoid ones that don’t require a password and that don’t use https protocol or display a secure padlock icon. Remember to log out of sites when you’re not using them and never use a public network to access sensitive financial or personal data.

In summary, public wi-fi is convenient and easy to use; and is safe so long as you put these defences into practise.

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