Free Wi-Fi, Good or Bad?

Free Wi-Fi, Good or Bad?

Have you ever been connected to a public Free Wi-Fi Network? I believe most of us do this daily and don’t realize how vulnerable we can be in these networks. Your personal information is in the hands of a stranger in this moment.

Because you enter to check out your emails, your social media, your bank account or your uploaded photos and videos, you must recognize that not all servers will respect your privacy. There are crackers or malicious hackers who can access your information easily since you are browsing through this common public Free Wi-Fi.

More and more, the world is connected, and we do not need to be Nostradamus to predict that soon the internet will be free for everyone. This hypothesis is corroborated by projects like Loon and Internet.org which are doing this right now. Although, we know that there is a lot of benefits for those companies, we congratulate them because their purpose is to offer “plenty of internet access to everyone”

It is important to say that despite opening Free Wi-Fi to the people, as we see in parks and cities around the world, we are also opening the door to malicious people (crackers) to enter to your emails, and steal your information since they can do it because we share the same Free Wi-Fi network. For this reason, security must be a top concern and something to be improved by the companies.

How to Prevent those Attacks?

First of all, we must know how those people get our information, most of them use a program called Sniffer, which traces most of our data, keywords, photos, emails, among others things.

The main measure to prevent this does not come from the users, it is the duty of the companies who provide this, who have the responsibility to increase the security of the search engines. Most of them have a poor configuration of their “Routers and Switch”, which allows people, from amateurs to experts, to access to our information. However, we congratulate again them for giving the opportunity to the least privileged ones to access to internet, but we demand more protection.

Recommendations for companies

If I could be heard, I would suggest:

  • Use a stronger data encryption WPA2, WPE weak and others.
  • Protect the ports of Routers and Switchs.
  • Install devices in zones where there is hard access for users.
  • Forget the generic keywords, those are so common.

Recommendations to users

Now, these are more a duty of awareness than rules, for example, being careful with what you share in your social media, because maybe there will be a cracker behind you.

  • Do not do bank transfers, since it is like saying “I want to be robbed”.
  • Do not share private information since you are also sharing this with others.
  • Avoid web browsers remember your keywords.

After those recommendations, I hope to raise awareness about all the risks of accessing public Free Wi-Fi. It is important to say that I do not believe that free is bad at all; what I think is that the measures must be taken in order to improve the security, and not doing what most people usually do: click “Next and Next”.

Sebastian Henao Madrigal

CEO & CoFounder of Gyffu.com, the new search engine that protects the user's privacy