Be Wary of Wi-Fi Hotspots

On 7th March 2014 Troels Oerting, Head of Europol’s
Cybercrime Centre
, told the BBC that users of free Wi-Fi hotspots should avoid sending
sensitive information over these connections.

Sitting in a coffee shop enjoying a cappuccino may seem like
a refreshing change to working in the office. However, it is important you are
vigilant when using free Wi-Fi. The
number of WiFi hot-spot related thefts has increased in recent years with
criminals targeting personal data such as passwords, identity information and
online bank accounts.

To do this, criminals become a “middle man” by using a
legitimate Wi-Fi hotspot to create a fake hotspot. When unsuspecting customers
connect to this fake hotspot all information they enter and access is monitored
by the “middle man”.

Tips to bear in mind when using or thinking of
using free WiFi hotspots

  • Don’t use free hotspots without password protection.
  • If you must an unprotected hotspot, never access sensitive
  • If connecting on a laptop, set your network location to
    “Public”; this will block file and printer sharing.
  • When using free hotspots NEVER carry out online
    banking, bill paying etc.
  • Opt out of saving/storing passwords
  • Keep your anti-virus software update. This will
    protect you from most but not all cyber attacks.
  • If you absolutely need to use a
    Wi-Fi hotspot and need to access sensitive information then you may want to pay
    to use a secure connection (some hotels and establishments offer this).

Finally, one of the best ways to avoid the risks of
free Wi-Fi hotspots is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This
involves remotely connecting to your Office PC through a secure Wi-Fi tunnel.

Do remember to read our Latest News bulletins for up-to-date IT industry news affecting small business users.

If you would like more information on WiFi hot-spot vigilance
or VPN’s then please contact us on 01952 684030 or email