WiFi Eavesdropping: By default, Wi-Fi is not safe. On private networks, yes you can implement encryption to stop unauthorized people from connecting and reading the traffic as it travels via the airwaves, but depending upon the security mode you use, connected users may still eavesdrop on each other’s traffic. And although public networks may use web-based authentication (captive portals), most don’t use actual encryption. Thus, anybody nearby can eavesdrop on the hotspot traffic, even if not a paying client.(also read, Hackers Hate When You Use VPN)
WiFi Eavesdropping: How Hackers are Using Your Unsecured Connection
What’s Wi-Fi Eavesdropping?
Whether it’s social media, chat applications, or emails, it’s important to stay connected. As businesses understand their customers’ need to stay connected places like hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, and airports offer free WiFi.
Despite their apparent utility, these hotspots can be among the most dangerous online networks. A hacker might be snooping on all the data that you send online. It includes all usernames and passwords you enter while connected to that WiFi. And if you make a bank transaction, the hackers will have your banking credentials. Not a very comfortable scenario.
At present, we can’t stay without connectivity. Whether uploading photos or checking the slides for the presentation, you are supposed to deliver; connectivity is a must. However, if you use a public WiFi to do that, you can easily get hacked. Cybercriminals thrive on the fact that people connect to public WiFi without thinking or taking the necessary precautions.
What’s At Risk?
Once a hacker gets into your device, they can steal all your data. From photos and videos to your bank passwords and credit card numbers and much more, hackers can cause serious damage. The following is a list of the most popular targets for hackers when accessing another person’s device:
- Browsing History
- Login details
- FTP login details
- FTP documents
- Chat history and conversations
- Audio and Video files
- Web addresses
- VNC Sessions
- Details of Encrypted Transactions
- All Transferred Files
- VoIP Details
- All Secure Internet Pages
You might think the multi-encryption on a WiFi makes your data secure, but it’s not entirely accurate. Encryption is an evolving process, and unless you use the latest versions, you are putting yourself at risk. At the same time, hackers are adept and identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities.
Where Do Most Hackers Target People?
The following is a list of the most to least dangerous places where you can become victim to a hacker through WiFi eavesdropping:
- Corporate Business Space.
- Public Places.
- Specific Public WiFis like on the subway.
- In mixed districts which include residences and businesses.
- Densely populated residential zones.
- During long-range wireless ISP driven connections.
- At your home, if it is located separately from other homes.
Is There A Way to Hide My WiFi?
You might have heard complaints about WiFi stealing. Sometimes, neighbors can steal your WiFi if they get their hands on your username and password. This can be easily avoided by securing your connection with a stronger password.
Can I Secure My WiFi Hotspots?
If you are a regular public WiFi user, then you should know how to stay safe online. Here are some ways to do that:
- Use a VPN or Virtual Private Network.(also see, Most Secure VPN Services in 2018)
- Make sure you have an antivirus program installed on your device.
- Do not transact through public WiFis or access accounts with personal info.
- Ensure your network is password protected.
- Turn off your connectivity when done using it.
- Don’t share files.
- Log out after using accounts.
- Go to HTTPS sites exclusively.
Another critical thing to remember is that WiFi passwords with WPA2 enabled will help in encrypting traffic. However, if you give the password to someone, they can easily see your activity. For businesses, it is best to use the Enterprise mode on the WPA2 for ensuring all activity remains secure and shielded from any snooping.
Conclusion- WiFi Eavesdropping
Public WiFi connectivity is great. However, as with all great things in life, there are dangers. Knowing what they are and how you can avoid them is the first step towards secure internet use. It is essential to keep in-the-know about all the latest dangers and developments to prevent them. When you secure your network with a VPN, you can enjoy risk-free Internet no matter where you are.