Technology

Using open Wi-Fi at public spots could make your phone, data vulnerable; here’s how

Going about using the nearest open wifi or wireless internet networks at variety of public spaces could be disaster for your data at such places could be prone to cyber attacks. Even the government agency Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) has warned on the issue and said that using public wifi could make one vulnerable to cyber attacks. The level of threat has to be understood as CERT-in has rated the vulnerability quotient of public Wi-Fi in the country at ‘high’.

“Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities allows an attacker to obtain sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails etc,” CERT-in has said.

CERT-in has advised people to avoid public WiFi at all costs and instead use VPN (virtual private network) and wired networks.

Users of Android, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows devices were most vulnerable to cyber attacks, the research found.

What can you do to secure your data?

Kaspersky Labs, a data security firm, research has highlighted the vulnerability in WPA or WPA2 encryption. It is most commonly used to connect to wireless networks. Such attacks are called key reinstallation attack, or KRACK.

According to a note by Kaspersky Labs you can follow a couple of tips on how to stay safe from KRACK attacks.

– Always check to make sure there’s a green lock icon in the address bar of your browser. That lock indicates that an HTTPS (encrypted and therefore secure) connection to this particular website is being used. If someone attempts to use SSLstrip against you, the browser will be forced to use HTTP versions of websites, and the lock will disappear. If the lock is in place, your connection is still secure.

– The researchers warned some network appliance manufacturers (including the Wi-Fi Alliance, which is responsible for standardizing the protocols) in advance of releasing their paper, so most of them have to be in the process of issuing firmware updates that can fix the issue with key reinstallation. So check if there are fresh firmware updates for your devices and install them as soon as possible.

– You can secure your connection using a VPN, which adds another layer of encryption to the data transferred from your device. You can read more on what a VPN is and how to choose one, or grab Kaspersky Secure Connection right away.

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