Zone Alarm, an Internet security company, has published a cool graphic which highlights our attitudes toward public WiFi networks, the risks we face when we connect to them, and ways we can protect ourselves while using them.
According to a follow-up post on Forbes.com about the Zone Alarm study, there are a variety of ready-made software tools that give hackers a leg up in public WiFi environments.
Packet sniffers go for as little as $15, and there are ready-to-go tools that anyone can download, install, and go. “If you’re interested and you want to be a hacker, you can be a hacker in 30 minutes,” according to the Forbes article.
That’s scary news, because the Zone Alarm survey shows that a shocking two thirds of us (64%) have little or no concern about connection to public WiFi networks, despite the fact that everything we do on these networks can be viewed and stolen by others.
Zone Alarm highlights three of the biggest risks on public WiFi: man-in-the-middle attacks, rogue WiFi networks, and packet sniffers.
To protect yourself, Zone Alarm recommends avoiding public WiFi whenever possible, confirming WiFi networks with the business owner before connecting, disabling file sharing, and making sure your antivirus and firewall software is turned on and up to date.
Most importantly, they recommend using a VPN to encrypt all of your data when accessing public WiFi networks. A VPN like PRIVATE WiFi can keep your information from falling into the wrong hands, and allows you to access public WiFi knowing that you are completely secure.