How to hide from sneaky Wi-Fi, Top 5 Security and Privacy Tips

Rogue Wi-Fi Hotspots

Around the world, Wi-Fi is the most common method of connecting to the Internet. We use it at home, at coffee shops, at hotels, in buses, at work, and wherever it is available. But is it safe? Can hackers attack our computers or phone through Wi-Fi? The answer is Yes; Apple recently released an important security software update for iPhone to protect users from a potential security attack through the WiFi connectors. It is the latest form attack that is designed get access to your phone through the WiFi. According to Apple Support Site, hackers can disturb your phone’s WiFi functions using this vulnerability. Apple recommends updating to the latest software update to protect your device. That raises the question, what else can hackers do with access to your WiFi? A lot. Below are the few dangers that may come your way through the phone WiFi connectors.

Snoop on you — WiFi connectors are doors on your phone. Most WiFi networks are open, and anyone in the network can potentially see your communication. Furthermore, can even trick you to modify your messages, and transactions (e.g. bank transfers). Track you — Your phone WiFi has a unique identifier (AKA MAC address) and your phone automatically share this identifier with any available hotspots in the neighborhood to find best connection for you, even if you don’t plan on connecting to it. It is like having your location broadcasted. Anyone with a WiFi network scanner can monitor your movements inside the home or on the go. Install software to steal information, or harm your phone — As in the case with Apple vulnerability, Hackers can gain access to your phone software using WiFi and modify it. They can turn on the camera, change your bank apps, etc.

What you can you do?

  1. Turn off your WiFi when not in use. There are many applications in the app stores can automatically help you do this. I use McAfee Safe Wi-Fi. This app automatically turn-off your phone Wi-Fi when not in a known location. For example when you are at Home it is on, but when you leave for shopping it is turned off.
  2. Don’t connect to unknown Wi-Fi hotspots; Use a trusted Wi-Fi scanner to identify the fake or malicious sites. Many of the Mobile Security App in the market place has this feature, I use McAfee Mobile Security. This app automatically scans the Wi-Fi hotspot, and warns of bad hotspots.
  3. Use a VPN app while using the public open Wi-Fi networks. VPN can help your messages private by encrypting them. There are several popular VPN apps in the market place. I use McAfee Safe Connect.
  4. Change the default password and name for your home Wi-Fi Routers. This is the password the manufacturer set for all their routers — normally admin/password. Most people don’t change this, and many router manufacturer don’t prompt the user to change it as well. Using this account, attackers can take over your router and snoop into your messages. Many attackers drive by neighborhood looking for routers with default setting.
  5. Lastly, Always keep your phone up to date with latest software versions.

(Note: I work for McAfee Consumer Product Group, the apps that I recommend here are those I help create. Thus I am a bias reviewer)

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