How Theft Can Also Come in through Wi-FiDecember 7, 2015
When you leave your home or go to bed at night, you probably take the time to make sure you lock your doors and windows. However, chances are pretty good that you don’t lock your Wi-Fi router. Internet theft is on the rise, but the good news is that you can protect yourself with a few simple tips and tricks.
Your Private Home Network
You can protect your private home network with firewalls, hidden SSIDs, and encrypted passwords. A firewall is designed to keep intruders out of your network, and many different companies make them. Most antivirus providers offer them in their software packages, and a few companies offer them online for free. An SSID is the name of your private home network, and you can stop broadcasting it through your router settings. When people cannot see your SSID, the odds of theft drop dramatically. Finally, make sure that you secure your network with a strong alphanumeric password. At least 16 characters in a combination of upper and lower cases, two numbers, and two special characters make the strongest passwords.
Free public hotspots are certainly tempting. They provide you with access to the World Wide Web, and you don’t even have to pay for it. You can find free Wi-Fi access in coffee shops, department stores, libraries, restaurants, and even parks in major cities. Although these hotspots can certainly be outstanding ways to save on your mobile data plans or access your work files while enjoying the great outdoors, they also present a significant security risk.
While performing tasks like accessing your social media account and looking up information via a public network may not present any significant security risks, many people also use these networks to perform identity-sensitive tasks. Some people turn to free Wi-Fi access when they need to pay their bills, access their bank accounts, or even fill out online applications. What many people do not realize is that despite security measures, it is not difficult for thieves to spy on you.
These days, although the providers of free Wi-Fi around the world work hard to secure their networks, there are still a few loopholes that thieves can exploit. For example, within a matter of seconds, a thief can obtain your email address simply by looking over your shoulder, send you a keylogging virus, and access everything that you type into your computer over the network from that point forward. Even if that thief cannot see your screen, he or she can still record every single keystroke you type – Social Security numbers, passwords, email addresses, and more.
In some cases, thieves can also access your internet-based home security systems in this very same manner. They can see the address you type in, your username, and your password via the keylogging software. Then, at any point, they can unlock your house and walk right in – and you will never know until it’s too late.
So how do you avoid Wi-Fi theft? The best way to avoid it is to avoid using public networks that you cannot completely trust. Even those that seem trustworthy, such as those at chain restaurants and shopping centers, can compromise your security. In short, you should never enter personal information when connected to a public network.