Gen Z are now a huge part of the world population, with estimates ranging from 24-30 percent, and their keen interest in technology makes them an increasingly influential demographic. PHOTO/ COURTESY
Free or public internet is now available in almost all the places we visit. Whether hotels, restaurants, institutions, airports, malls, or offices- virtually everywhere including streets – all you need to do is log on to Wi-Fi and browse the internet for what tickles your fancy.
All this is pure bliss until you pause and think about the dangers you are exposing yourself to.
Most people log onto their social media accounts or just browse the internet while using public Wi-Fi without giving a thought to the fact their personal data is at risk as cybercriminals are restlessly scouring the internet for targets.
Cybersecurity experts warn users of free Wi-Fi to be extra vigilant as they can easily fall prey to internet fraudsters.
How can then one enjoy the free internet while ensuring that their data is well safeguarded?
The starting point is to know how attackers can pounce on you. There are various ways that cybercriminals can strike while using public Wi-Fi. Some of the key ones are explained below:
Attackers can slip malware onto your phone or computer without your consent. Hackers can use software vulnerability to install systems or software programs into your device. They use this weakness to write codes that target a specific vulnerability and then inject the malware into your device.
Some hackers can hack connection points itself causing various windows to pop-up during the connection process offering an upgrade to a piece of popular software. When you click the window, you would have installed malware in your device.
Toward this off, experts advise internet users to disable file sharing.
Man-in –the-Middle attacks
Hackers also have the ability to position themselves between you and the connection point. When they do this, they can easily track your details and information easily.
After accessing your important email, credit card information, or any other personal credentials, they can use it to log into your account and access your system as though they were you.
To avoid such attacks while using public Wi-Fi, the Communication Authorities of Kenya (CAK) advise users to use Virtual Private Network (VPN) when surfing on your smartphone.
Hackers can send to your device a wireless router that has a secret code that cannot be accessed by anyone. When a network is encrypted and you put the secret code, your device can be easily accessed by cybercriminals.
Hackers can also easily sniff and snoop into your account while using public Wi-Fi. This is possible because the cybercriminals have special software’s kits and devices that allow them access to everything you are doing online. This gives them the ability to easily capture your credentials and even hijack your account.
Do not allow your device to auto-connect to public networks. If you must use the public Wi-Fi, you should not access websites that hold your sensitive information, i.e. your financial or healthcare accounts.
Do not log in to a network system that has a protected password.
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