Wireless Internet is a wonderful technology we enjoy to stay connected online through our mobile devices. In recent years, staying connected has become even easier thanks to numerous public Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Toronto and the GTA. However, there can be risks associated with using untrusted public Wi-Fi connections since these are not secure connections.
The reason public Wi-Fi connections are not secure is because they do not require a passcode to access. As a result, anyone can join the connection and have access to the Internet. However accessing these networks come with certain risks. With the right skills, a potential hacker can see all connected devices to the public connection, which means they could hack into your device and install malware, viruses, or even gain access to your personal information.
In addition, not all public Wi-Fi hotspot are actual connections. Sometimes, hackers will create a fake Wi-Fi network and once you join it, your device will download malware, viruses, or other malicious software allowing the hacker access to your device, or sometimes evening cloning it.
Were you aware that the default settings on many smartphones and tablets automatically connects the device to the nearest public Wi-Fi network, whenever there is one available? Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to change their default settings on their mobile devices. If you did not know this, it is highly advisable that you update your settings on your device and disable this option if you value your device security. When you need to connect, you can go into the device settings and manually select the appropriate wireless connection.
With secure Wi-Fi connections, gaining access requires selecting the right network and entering in a passcode. Sometimes a user name will also be needed, depending upon the type of authentication being used. Secure connections prevent and limit the number of people who can have access to the Internet. As such, the risks associated with hacking, malware, and other such unsavory activities is greatly reduced.
However, keep in mind the complexity of the passcode you were given to join a secure wireless network. If it is something that someone could easily guess, then even though it is a secure connection, you still need to take precautions to protect your personal and sensitive data. For instance, if the passcode is “password,” or “123456,” essentially the secure network is no more secure than a public wireless hot spot.
Tips for Connecting to Wi-Fi Networks
- Before joining either type of Wi-Fi connection, consider what it is you want to do online. Are you checking emails, connecting to online banking accounts, or reviewing the latest posts on your social media pages?
- Only join connections you recognize. You do not want to connect to hot spots that are unfamiliar.
- Make sure to choose the right connection. Depending on your location there can be numerous hot spots listed.
- Always disconnect the device from the connection after you are done accessing the Internet. If you do not shut it off, the device will remain connected in the background.
Here at iQ Office Suites, we use secure Wi-Fi connections to ensure our clients can connect safely and confidently to the Internet. Given a steady increase in internet security breaches, we believe that every organization big and small should take steps to protect their data. Each member company at iQ is set up with an enterprise grade, firewall protected V-LAN, meaning that only that company can access other devices on their secure network.