In an internet-driven world, customers tend to expect free, high-speed wifi from most businesses. Setting up a wifi hotspot will certainly attract customers to your business. However, an improperly implemented wifi network can leave your business and your customers open to hackers.
Unsecured wifi, defined as any wifi network that doesn’t require a password to access, can leave both you and your customers vulnerable to cybercriminals. Anyone with a detailed understanding of how to search for hidden information can lift passwords, banking info, and more sensitive information from anyone connected to that particular network.
How Hackers Target Unsecured Wi-fi Networks
Targeting unsecured wireless internet hotspots is alarmingly easy. Hackers often employ one of the following strategies:
- Wardriving: finding and mapping open wifi networks to target later
- Network sniffing: monitoring the network for any identifying information, including passwords and banking information
- Pineapples: setting up an imposter hotspot (nicknamed a pineapple) designed to mimic or even block a legitimate network from a local business
Securing Your Wireless Network
The simplest step to secure your business wifi is to require a password. Display the password inside for customers to see, or only provide it after someone has made a purchase. (Hotels tend to employ the latter strategy.) In the meantime, ensure that your own personal and business devices are protected from potentially compromised networks:
- Connect only to networks with strong encryption levels
- Use a VPN whenever connecting to an unfamiliar wifi
- Disable auto-connect to prevent your devices from automatically latching onto any network
- Use ethernet whenever it is available rather than wifi
Pro Tip: Internet-connected devices tend to always be looking for open wifi networks to connect to. This can leave you vulnerable to connecting to an unsecured network. Disabling auto-connect is a good first step to protect yourself.
Preventing Data Theft
Once a hacker discovers an unsecured wifi network, they won’t leave it alone until they’re eventually blocked by enhanced encryption. Beat them to the punch by taking immediate steps to protect connected client devices from vulnerability. Even a few simple steps will go a long way in the fight against cybercrime.
Connect with us to learn more about dealing with an unsecure network.