We've all used public Wi-Fi: it's free, saves on your data allowance, and is always helpful in speeding up loading times.
You might love public Wi-Fi—but so do hackers.
Here are just a few ways cybercriminals can hack devices on public Wi-Fi, get access to your private data, and potentially steal your identity. And how you can protect yourself from public Wi-Fi hacking.
1. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
A Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack is a cyberattack whereby a third party intercepts communications between two participants. Instead of data being shared directly between server and client, that link is broken by another element.
The uninvited hijacker could then present their own version of a site to display to you, adding in their own messages.
Anyone using public Wi-Fi is especially vulnerable to MITM attacks. Because the information transmitted is generally unencrypted, it's not just the hotspot that's public; it's your data too.
A compromised router can vacuum up a lot of personal material relatively simply: hackers getting into your emails, for instance, gives them access to your usernames, passwords, private messages, and plenty more!
How to Protect Yourself From MITM Attacks