Welcome to the ever-connected world
Today, wireless connections have become a necessity. Whether it’s a phone, PC, gaming console, tablet, Smart TV, or an IoT device, almost every gadget we own is now hooked up to the internet.
It’s no wonder Wi-Fi hotspots are getting increasingly common. Cisco predicts there will be 432,5 million of them worldwide by 2021. By then, 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet.
Obviously, places like stores, libraries, coffee shops, restaurants, and fast food chains were quick to offer free hotspots to their guests.
But not all Wi-Fi networks are created equal.
Cybercriminals are keeping an eye on Wi-Fis
Free Wi-Fis seem like the best thing since sliced bread. But they can be a trap. The networks you use in cafés, airports, or hotels usually lack a secure setup or even a password.
This makes it very easy for hackers and infiltrators to snoop on network traffic. So, your online activity can be exposed to strangers looking to get your data.
Cybercrime is an incredibly lucrative illegal business, and open and unsecured Wi-Fis are now a hacker playground since it’s easy to prey on unsuspecting victims.
Here’s what can be lurking on unprotected Wi-Fi networks.
Public Wi-Fis can be dangerous
Whenever you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you risk exposing yourself to:
You’re dealing with Malicious Associations when hackers trick you into accessing the wrong Wi-Fi network.
You might think you’re connecting to your place of business, but you’re actually connecting a soft access point, set up by a cybercriminal.
Your information can be stolen, or you could end up getting malicious software in your system.
Man-in-the-middle attacks are one of the most common security risks. They turn hotspots into proxies used between two devices that lack authentication protocols.
This way, hackers can read and record data and communication taking place on the Wi-Fi network. They can access sensitive information like credit card numbers, passwords, or cryptocurrency wallets.
When it comes to Denial of Service Attacks, a hacker bombards specific access points with failure messages, fake requests, and premature successful connection messages for the network to crash.
This can be more about wounding the network itself than the people using it.
However, the hacker typically watches the recovery process, recording all the initial handshake codes as they are re-transmitted by all connected devices, to get access to the system later.
For Evil Twin Attacks, the hackers create a fake network that is almost identical to a public Wi-Fi network to an unsuspecting victim.
Sometimes, the fake networks even have a stronger signal, to lure in more people. Connecting to them grants hackers access to everything done online.
The hacker uses a program to try different password combinations until they have successfully navigated through the system.
FTP brute force attacks are particularly effective against weak passwords, including factory defaults. Users who rely on the same password for all their accounts are also more vulnerable.
A hacker uses a PORT command to pose as a middle man for file transfers that occur directly between two FTP servers.
All information that bounces between these servers can be accessed through the network.
MAC spoofing is the identity theft equivalent when it comes to devices.
Most wireless systems allow a form of MAC filtering that can identify the devices authorized to access and utilize the network. In this case, hackers listen in on network traffic and copy the MAC address of the machine that has network privileges.
While the attack is targeted towards small residential networks, it usually has devastating consequences for your data.
You might also know this technique under the term “packet sniffing”. The openness of public Wi-Fis makes it easy for hackers to monitor your traffic. Packets sniffers are programs designed to record all data transfers across a network.
Information such as usernames and passwords can be easily decoded, and unsecured communications can also be caught.
Due to the nature of these packet sniffers, the hackers don’t even break a sweat. All your data is handed out to them.
For port stealing, the hacker uses your stolen MAC address to force the switch to change its forwarding table. This causes the packets meant to be sent to your device to be delivered to the port the attacker is connected to.
After getting these packets, the hacker can easily decode the information or deny your access to them. Even worse, the hackers can also choose to insert malicious code into those packets, in hopes of infecting other users as well.
Nowadays, people mostly associate cookies with targeted advertising, but that’s not always the case. Some cookies are designed to customize and make your browsing experience as smooth as possible.
In one such case, cookies can be used to store your username and password for different sites, so that you do not have to log in every time manually.
When you are on an unsecured public Wi-Fi, hackers can get their hands on your cookies. Depending on your browser settings, they can contain enough information to compromise your account and other sensitive credentials.
While most people are usually vigilant for viruses, not a lot of us are familiar with worms. They’re not really the same, though. Viruses require you to download a file, while worms can infiltrate your device, even if you don’t visit any shady sites.
If a Wi-Fi network lacks proper security, worms can easily find their way to you and can compromise your data.
The easiest way to increase your wireless network security is to use VPN software like CyberGhost to encrypt your data and make yourself anonymous online.
To learn more, check out our extensive guide on how to secure your data over Wi-Fi!
CyberGhost: the Wi-Fi VPN for all your devices
It’s essential to protect your whole digital life and secure your gadgets.
That’s why we designed and developed VPN apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Linux and even routers. Now you can safeguard your wireless network security with just one click!
What’s more, just one CyberGhost VPN subscription lets you protect up to 7 devices at the same time.
It’s never been more comfortable using a VPN for public Wi-Fi!
Choose the VPN servers optimized for your security
There is no shortage of threats lurking in the cyber world. With the increasing amount of compromised data and security breaches, you need a strong, safe VPN, able to withstand any threats to your privacy.
This is why our VPN servers have been optimized to give you the best Wi-Fi VPN security, speed, and unlimited bandwidth.
With more than 7200 servers in over 91 countries, we got you covered, no matter where you are. Use a VPN on public Wi-Fi and stay safe from prying eyes!
Encrypt your wireless network connections
The CyberGhost VPN apps are configured to give you the highest privacy standards. Every bit of your data is sealed behind the 256-AES military-grade encryption protocol.
CyberGhost VPN is also customizable, catering to all your needs. You can choose between the WireGuard®, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols. And if you’re looking to create your own privacy triggers, there's a Smart Rules tab just for that.
Our DNS-leak protection and kill switch always keep your wireless connections secure. And, no matter what happens, we always make sure your IP is hidden so that your online activities are shielded from any snoopers.
Enjoy our strict No logs policy
Here at CyberGhost VPN, we are committed to protecting your privacy.
It’s exactly why we’re headquartered in Bucharest, Romania. In this country, we are under no legal obligation to keep logs on our Ghosties. And because Romania is not a member of any surveillance alliance, we don’t have to collaborate with the authorities on any matter.
For more details on our take on privacy, take a look at our Transparency Report.
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