Did you know 1 in 4 hotspots are vulnerable to attack?
More than a quarter of Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide are not secured and pose a risk to users' personal data, according to Kaspersky Lab.
The finding is based on the analysis of information on more than 31 million global Wi-Fi hotspots which showed that traffic over 28% could be intercepted easily by hackers.
According to analysis by Kaspersky Security Network, 25% of Wi-Fi networks have no encryption or password protection of any kind. This means the data passing through them is completely open and can be read by third parties. Another 3% of hotspots use WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) to encrypt data, which is an unreliable protocol that can be hacked in minutes using tools that are freely available on the internet.
If attackers can intercept usernames/passwords, they could take control of computers on the Wi-Fi network, change browsing to websites that deliver malware or capture credentials, or use the Wi-Fi network to perform various anonymous or illegal activities.
"Don't use hotspots without passwords and don't use public hotspots to perform high-risk activities such as online banking or shopping, logging on to sites or for transferring confidential information," says Denis Legezo, antivirus expert at Kaspersky Lab.
"We strongly recommend using additional measures to protect traffic, such as VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology", he said.
To reduce the risk of attack when using public Wi-Fi, you should:
- Use only trusted and secure Wi-Fi networks when doing anything confidential that involves typing a username and password, or transmitting confidential data.
- Use a VPN whenever possible.
- Make sure, before signing in to any website, that it is secure by looking for 'https' in the URL and the unbroken padlock symbol, as well as checking the security certificate.
- Secure the computer used to access public Wi-Fi with a reputable internet security product.
- Protect all devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones.