The Dangers of Free Wi-fi
With many of us travelling or taking some well deserved holiday at the moment, the need for wireless internet is paramount. We use wireless internet to share photos, Skype family and remain connected to the rest of the world.
In some respects it’s a shame we feel the desperate urges to get online when on holiday. This has become part of the new internet hungry world we live in!
Hackers understand our desperation to get connected and are exploiting this to act as the “man in the middle” to steal our passwords as we send our information via their public networks.
An Open Wi-Fi (non-password, non-encrypted) hotspot can be a trap. Once you connect, you may be tricked by being redirected into giving your login details to fake websites, where someone can steal your personal and private information. Some of these attacks are so simple they don’t even need to redirect you.
The way this works is by either exploiting your DNS servers (Domain Name Servers tell your computer or device what address to visit. For example Facebook.com will be translated to 220.127.116.11). The hacker creates their own DNS server that points you to their own servers when you visit sites – this means in the address bar it says Facebook.com but really you’re somewhere else!
Without redirection some hotspots will simply sniff the data being sent. If your email address or the website you are viewing is not using SSL it is easy for the data to be taken. It’s just like listening to someone give their personal information in a room.
It is always better to prevent than to cure. The most simple way to avoid this is no matter how much you want to get online always use verified wifi hotspots from your hotel (it’s difficult as some hackers copy the wifi names of these too). To be 100% secure while travelling the best way is to use a VPN service.
We recommend Express VPN to remain protected
Head on over to https://www.expressvpn.com and sign up to the 1 month package for $19.95
Download the VPN app on your phone, computer or tablet.
Once you’ve got the App installed open the software and press allow on both screens. Once done set your location as UK then press connect.
Now your device is securely connected and has an encrypted connection to the Internet. Your data can’t be sniffed and also you avoid the DNS redirects. The additional bonus to this is you can also use BBC iPlayer and other streaming apps that are normally blocked when abroad.
Have a safe trip!