Wherever you travel, you can always count on finding a free Wi-Fi connection. It is extremely tempting to connect to one another to remain connected everywhere you go—whether you are working, communicating, or just watching a humorous video or two. Regrettably, free Wi-Fi is not only attractive but also hazardous.
One in every four Wi-Fi hotspots is insecure and readily hacked. Why is it possible to hack free Wi-Fi? Apart from you and other legal users, such networks serve as a magnet for various types of cyber thieves looking to steal your data. What can an average user do to protect themselves against Wi-Fi hacking? How can you safeguard your Wi-Fi connection from hackers? Discover more in this article.
How is Wi-Fi hackable?
What comes to mind when you consider Wi-Fi network hacking? Is a suspicious individual dressed in a hoodie sneaking into your neighborhood’s free Wi-Fi hotspot? That is not impossible. However, this is not the only method of misusing Wi-Fi.
Hacking a Wi-Fi network
Cybercriminals who attack Wi-Fi routers may compromise the network as a whole or individual devices linked to it. This enables them to exploit the weakest link, focusing on readily exploitable flaws or waiting for their victim to make a crucial error. A hacker may employ phishing attacks to steal passwords from connected devices, follow their users, expose their personal information, intercept their Wi-Fi traffic, and read their private data, among other things.
Intercepting Wi-Fi traffic
Another risk is that Wi-Fi attackers may track your movements. Hackers can monitor the status of your mobile device. Alternatively, you may connect to your own mobile Wi-Fi hotspot to leak network names and owner information. This is a serious privacy and security concern for anybody who does not want their device broadcasting their position, identity, or habits.
Evil twin attack
Criminals may set up their own bogus Wi-Fi hotspots to entice their victims with the promise of free Wi-Fi. They may be located in locations with a high concentration of high-value targets, such as financial and commercial districts, airports, hotels, convention and conference centers, and so on. This malicious access point is disguised as a legitimate free Wi-Fi hotspot. Or even a particular one that a hacker can design to seem identical to another genuine hotspot that his victims are familiar with.
How to safeguard your Wi-Fi connection against hackers
Fortunately, there are methods to mitigate these dangers. It entails both correcting habits that result in the leakage of sensitive information and protecting your devices. The methods below will assist you in protecting your Wi-Fi connection from hackers.
Precautions for basic Wi-Fi security
To begin with, caution and common sense will safeguard you more effectively than any security measures. Assume that all public Wi-Fi networks, particularly those that are free, are insecure. Whether you are browsing the web in a coffee shop or connecting to airport Wi-Fi, hackers are likely to be nearby. Even Wi-Fi hotspots that are password-protected or require users to provide valid credentials may be hacked.
Maintain a vigilant eye out for anything unusual. Does your device exhibit unusual behavior while connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot? Are you being abruptly diverted away from the page you were browsing? Do you need to re-enter your password for a stored WiFi network? This may be an indication of danger. Disconnect from the network and call the administrator or information technology security expert responsible for it.
Make use of security tools
Ensure that your firewall is configured properly and that your antivirus software is current—this should protect your device from direct assaults. Malware, adware, and spyware are all examples of such assaults.
Consider using VPN software, such as NordVPN, to protect your online traffic and data after it leaves your device and travels across a Wi-Fi network. This application will encrypt your online traffic using the AES-256 method, making any unauthorized parties unable to access your personal information. Additionally, NordVPN conceals your true IP address, preventing hackers from associating your internet traffic and activities with your identity.
Organize your list of favorite networks
The Preferred Network List (PNL) is a list of Wi-Fi networks that your device automatically trusts. This includes the names of the networks that you have previously joined. However, since we are unable to differentiate between networks with the same name, password, and level of security, it will automatically join any Wi-Fi network with the same name. Yes, including a Wi-Fi hotspot for the Evil Twin.
Therefore, access the Preferred Network List on your smartphone and remove any networks that you do not want it to connect to automatically. For instance, always disable any open Wi-Fi networks since this is the most common guise used by evil twins. While encountering a hostile network that is password-protected is not impossible, it is less likely.
Disable automatic network connection for new networks
After purging your Preferred Network List, let’s ensure that it remains that way. If you often use a password-protected public Wi-Fi network, you can minimize the danger of connecting automatically to its Evil Twin while also saving the password. Simply select the “disable auto-connect” option when you join this network for the first time after cleaning your PNL.
Your device will no longer attempt to connect to all networks that have the same name and security type. This implies that you will have to click the network’s name manually each time. However, you will avoid your smartphone exposing your data at the expense of this little annoyance.
Conclusion on the subject of Wi-Fi hacking and security
This is how you safeguard your Wi-Fi connection from hackers. Take these easy measures to ensure that you and your personal information are fully secure online. Additionally, do not forget to check out NordVPN’s full-featured risk-free trial to discover just how simple it is to guarantee your security while using public Wi-Fi!