Are Wi-Fi Hotspots Dangerous to Use?

Hotspots, for those who don’t know, are points of internet connection, allowing you to access them. One you may be familiar with is the one found on your mobile device and the ones available at cafes, restaurants, hotels, airports, and other public places. Your phone, in this case, acts as a router.

But is your phone having its hotspot open safe? And what about public Wi-Fi hotspots? The ones anyone can just enter? Let’s explore:

The advantages of using Wi-Fi hotspots

  • Portability (on your device)
  • Convenience and ease of accessibility
  • Connecting multiple devices

The disadvantages of using Wi-Fi hotspots

  1. On Android devices, “open access” for hotspots is on by default, removing the need for a password and allowing anyone to access the network.
  2. The situation described above can allow others to use up your bandwidth
  3. But worse than using up your data are Man-in-the-Middle attacks. These are eavesdropping attacks that occur when a computer makes a connection to the internet, sending data between a computer and a website in that network allows an attacker to exploit a vulnerability (or security gap) in the connection and to read the transmissions, invading your privacy.
  4. These security gaps can also allow hackers to send malware to your computer or mobile device through an unsecured network.
  5. Some hotspots may be malicious and are intended to lure the user into entering them.

How to use Wi-Fi hotspots safely

  1. Disable file sharing on your devices
  2. Don’t log into networks that aren’t password-protected!
  3. Don’t log into accounts that include your financial information
  4. Disable your Wi-Fi from auto-connecting to networks
  5. Only visit safe sites using HTTPS
  6. Log out of accounts when you’re done using them
  7. Create a strong password to your phone’s hotspot
    Long, unique, and hard to guess passwords will ensure high safety when using your mobile device’s hotspot.
  8. Get a unique SSID for your phone’s hotspot
    An android phone will automatically assign a default one, which can be easily be guessed. Rename your SSID (or network name) to something only you will understand.
  9. Get a mobile security software
    Getting powerful mobile security using advanced technology will protect you from hackers when using public Wi-Fi hotspots. A great one is ZoneAlarm Mobile Security. It’s an app you can download for both Android and iOS (Apple iPhone) that uses the most advanced technology by Check Point (a leader in cybersecurity for enterprises and governments worldwide). It protects your mobile device from hackers trying to access your data and take over your device, especially when connecting to potentially dangerous hotspots. It also helps block malicious apps before they’re installed. It has minimal effect on battery life and performance, so you won’t even feel that it’s there.
  10. Get PC & mobile security software
    Besides getting amazing mobile security such as the ones described in the previous point, getting protection for your PC isn’t less important, as you may use your laptop with a public Wi-Fi hotspot. That’s why ZoneAlarm Extreme Security includes both ZoneAlarm Mobile Security and additional protection for PC from all advanced cyberattacks, such as viruses, malware, ransomware, and phishing, is the way to go. It’s easy to use and download for as many devices as you need to protect, PC and mobile (Android & iOS). It also includes a Firewall, controlling all incoming and outgoing network traffic, which is necessary when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network on your laptop.

Don’t risk your data, privacy, and financial and personal information. Follow the above steps when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots and through your phone and –most importantly—get your devices the protection it needs against cyberattacks today.

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