[VIDEO] Public WiFi Risks


Today in the Evolve IT Lab, Lachie and Ben discuss the risks of public WiFi. When travelling on holidays or for business Public WiFi can be a lifesaver, allowing you to connect back home and collaborate with your colleagues. However what are the risks and is the risk worth it? 

In this video we discuss key points including:

  • Shopping centre public WiFi
  • Public WiFi overseas
  • How you can protect yourself

Want to know more? contact the team at Evolve IT

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Lachie: Good day, guys, and welcome back to the Evolve IT lab. My name's Lachie and we've got Ben back from SOPHOS. Welcome, Ben.

Ben: Pleasure to be here, thank you. 

Lachie: Guys, today we're gonna be discussing public Wi-Fi. Now, I often go to shopping centers like Chadstone with my wife and, instead of shopping, I'll actually connect to the public Wi-Fi, and I'll watch "Footy" or something like that, something that I'm, like, super-interested in. So, Ben, today you're gonna be discussing the risks of it. So, what are some of the risks with connecting to public Wi-Fi?

Ben: Yeah. Well, like you mentioned, like going to a shopping center, is not too risky. It's mainly using that information, that telemetry to target advertising at you, and it's really to understand more about the shopper. But when you start looking at, say, cafe wireless, who secured it? Who set it up? Can you trust it? When your device is on that wireless network, other devices on that network can, say, access it and steal your data, that kind of thing. If you're talking about hotels, if you're staying at big-name hotels, or even most hotels now, they're pretty secure. They isolate your device so you're a part of your own network, so other people can't access you. So the risks are mitigated. But there are still some concerns there about proxy.

Lachie: Yeah. So, Ben, when you talk about things like Wi-Fi, connecting to the hotel Wi-Fi, is it different to overseas? Like, what are some of the risks you might have with connecting to Wi-Fi overseas?

Ben: So, big hotel chains and things like that overseas do a great job of securing data. They don't want the reputation of, this person stayed here, and had data stolen on our wireless network. But, in saying that, like, I just got back from Bangkok, or I was there mid-last year, and all of the taxis there have free Wi-Fi. So, you can, essentially, connect, and it's great fun, you get internet everywhere and you don't need to pay for a data plan. But you can access every other device that connects to that network as well, so... and a lot of those devices also had to file credentials on the router, so there's a lot of risks there. So, things to consider.

Lachie: Yeah, absolutely. So, what are some of the things you can do? Obviously, when you're overseas, what are some of the things you can do to help protect you, and what are some of the things you can do here in Melbourne to protect you?

Ben: Absolutely. So, VPN is a great technology. So, essentially, a VPN is a secure tunnel from your device back to head office. So you use that to, essentially, secure all the traffic going in and out of the wireless connection, so people can't intercept that wireless connection and take advantage, or use it to steal data if you've got that kind of thing.

Lachie: Cool. No worries. And, when people overseas may be going for that data plan, rather than, you know, connecting to public Wi-Fi.

Ben: Absolutely. If you look at risk mitigation, so, connecting to any public wireless hotspot can be risky. If your personal data on that device is worth something, it's probably worth paying the $10 a day with Telestra or Vodaphone to, essentially, get a data plan so you can use that overseas. 

Lachie: Yeah, great. All right, Ben. Well, thank you very much. And thank you, everyone, for watching. We'll see you next time.


Posted by Lachie Dixon

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