Public WiFi Risks for Entrepreneurs

There are plenty of professionals who don’t think twice before connecting to the public WiFi at their favorite coffee shop. We often assume that if the area itself is generally safe, then the WiFi options will be, too.

Unfortunately, whether you’re working at the public library or the local corner coffee shop, you could be facing some serious security risks. Knowing what you could be up against can help you make an informed decision about your online activity. There are some helpful rules to follow to make sure you keep your data private.

Public WiFi Security Risks

Connecting to public WiFi might seem simple on the surface, but there are a handful of different risks that can endanger your business and personal details. One of the most concerning threats is malware. Jumping on an unsecured WiFi connections gives hackers the opportunity to share infected software. These have the potential to destroy data on your computer and the other devices you use in public.

Third parties also have the ability to intercept your accounts by moving between your system and the WiFi connection point. This is referred to as a “Man in the Middle” attack. Another trick used by hackers is called the “Evil Twin.” In this scenario, their WiFi signal is labeled with a name similar to the hotel, coffee shop, or other venue where you want to get online. This trick can be especially hard to spot when the hacker’s network signal is stronger than the established public WiFi account. It’s often too tempting to connect to the fake location.

Once you’re online, hackers can then monitor all of your activity. This is why it can be really dangerous to log into sensitive sites. Hackers then have the potential to steal the passwords to your email, bank, or social media accounts. The same can happen with your credit card information, so shopping online with public WiFi is another big no-no.

How to Avoid WiFi Problems

Of course, even with those risks, you might still want to log online while on-the-go. Staying smart with public WiFi access can help you avoid security breaches. At a minimum, you want to be cautious about the information you give out when logging on. Some companies ask for you to provide your phone number or email address before you’re given access to their internet. Any additional questions should be a red flag. If you aren’t positive that the connection is secure, it might not be worth that risk.

Another precaution you can take is to limit your AirDrop features. When you’re working alone in public, you won’t need to have this function on, anyway. Selecting the option to be “discovered by no one” can help keep you off the radar of would-be hackers.

Then again, you can also avoid the risks altogether. Using your smartphone as private hotspot lets you surf the web on other devices. It just takes your cellular network’s connection and directs it to your computer or tablet. When that isn’t possible, you can always stay offline to protect your data. Of course, this only works for the short-term.

Time to Graduate from the Coffee Shop?

If you really want to keep your information on lockdown, it’s probably time to stop setting up your office in the coffee shop. Having a designated, private office space is more secure—not to mention more professional. Working on your own secure WiFi helps protect your data so you can have better peace of mind whenever you jump online.

We take these security risks seriously at Office Evolution of Carmel. That’s part of the reason why we outfit each private office with its own secure VLAN, accessed via an Ethernet cable or WiFi connection. It’s the smarter, safer way to run your own office. And since you don’t need to compete with other users for bandwidth, you can count on fast internet.

To learn more about your options with Office Evolution, give us a call at (317) 343-4488. We’ll be happy to schedule a tour with you. (We’ll even pour you a cup of coffee!) A change of scenery might be just what your workday needs. We can help.