Public Wi Fi: what are the risks and how to prevent them

by Kelvin

ESET Latin America warns about some of the risks associated with the use of public Wi-Fi networks and about 5 recommendations to protect yourself when connecting to one.

The arrival of Wi-Fi in public places marked a before and after in the day to day of the interconnected users, since it allows to take advantage of the Internet service either by requesting a password or directly through a network. ESET, a leading company in proactive threat detection, shares key points to pay attention to when it comes to public Wi-Fi networks and their security.

“If we only stopped a few minutes to think about how safe public connections are, we would quickly find several reasons to give a negative response to your access. If when we visit a public place we do not leave our belongings in any place, because we know the risks of doing so, why would we do it with the information stored in our devices? », warns Camilo Gutierrez, Head of the ESET Latin America Laboratory.


In order to avoid falling into deception or attacks, five recommendations to connect from the ESET Latin America Laboratory to public Wi-Fi networks safely:

1. Keep the security solution and operating system updated:

It is essential to always keep updated the Operating System and system applications, applying the security patches launched by the manufacturers and thus protecting the equipment. In addition, the antivirus solution in devices, both laptops and mobiles, are a key step to be sure. Once installed it is important to have the latest version of the product downloaded, ensuring that all its features are up to date and ready to prevent the entry of potentially unwanted applications.

2. Take care of the actions carried out from these connections:

When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, it is advisable to use the Internet to visit sites that do not require credentials or personal information, as portals or diaries. In addition, you could disable all the services of homebanking, email accounts, social networks and other applications that require a username and password to establish the connection. If it is of utmost urgency to access sensitive data, it is preferable to use mobile data or directly use a VPN and keep the information encrypted.

3. Access websites that use HTTPS protocol:

It guarantees that the information transmitted between the user's computer and the website is encrypted in transmission. Because since mobile devices and / or tablets practically the same actions are executed as from any desktop or laptop computer, it is important to know if when entering a website it uses the secure navigation protocol.

4. Set the device to ask before connecting:

To prevent the connection from being automatic and avoid possible risks, it is recommended to configure the devices to ask before connecting to the network of any site. This allows you to analyze if it is a secure network before making the connection.

5. Use Double Authentication Factor:

It never hurts to have an extra layer of security like the one provided by the double authentication factor. Most of the services have the possibility of configuring access to the site so that after the password an additional code must be entered, which will be sent to the phone through an SMS, an email, an app or a call, to confirm that it is the account holder who is accessing.