The Dangers of Free WiFi
A survey in Forbes Advisor in February 2023 (article link), found the riskiest places to use public Wi-Fi, as perceived by the respondents, are hotels, airports, and cafes or restaurants. Be vigilant about your online security, regardless of where you connect to public Wi-Fi.
43% Have Had Their Online Security Compromised While Using Public Wi-Fi
One of the biggest risks associated with using public Wi-Fi is that it can be unsecured and vulnerable to attack. Hackers can use this vulnerability to steal your personal information or install malicious software on your devices without you knowing. So, using banking apps on public networks can expose you to various risks. Below are some dangers associated with hackers and public networks when it comes to banking apps:
- Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: In a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, a hacker intercepts the communication between your device and the banking server. This allows them to eavesdrop on sensitive information such as login credentials, account numbers, and transaction details.
- Wi-Fi Sniffing: Hackers can use Wi-Fi sniffing tools to capture data transmitted over public networks. This may include unencrypted information sent between your device and the banking app.
- Fake Wi-Fi Hotspots: Cybercriminals may set up rogue Wi-Fi hotspots with names similar to legitimate networks. When users unknowingly connect to these fake hotspots, hackers can monitor and capture their data.
- Session Hijacking: If a hacker gains access to your session ID or token, they can take control of your active banking session without needing your login credentials. This allows them to perform un-authorized transactions.
- Malicious Apps: Public networks may be more prone to malware. If your device is compromised with malware, it could lead to the installation of malicious apps that target banking information.
- Password Theft: Weak or reused passwords are vulnerable to being stolen. If you use the same password across multiple accounts and it is compromised on a public network, hackers may attempt to access your banking app using the same credentials.
- Phishing Attacks: Hackers may deploy phishing techniques to trick users into providing their login credentials or personal information. This can happen through fake banking app interfaces or phishing emails that appear to be from your bank.
- Device Vulnerabilities: Public networks might expose your device to security vulnerabilities. If your de-vice has unpatched software or outdated security measures, it becomes an easier target for exploitation by hackers.
- Unsecured Transactions: Public networks may lack encryption, allowing hackers to intercept and manipulate data during online transactions. This could lead to unauthorized fund transfers or identity theft.
- Lack of Encryption: Some public networks may not use encryption, making it easier for hackers to intercept and decipher the information transmitted between your device and the banking server.
To mitigate these risks, follow the previously mentioned precautions such as using secure Wi-Fi connections, employing a VPN, enabling two-factor authentication, and regularly monitoring your accounts for any suspicious activity. Always prioritize the security of your devices and the networks you connect to, especially when dealing with sensitive financial information.