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Dear Nairobians, here are the dangers of using free public WiFi

By Winnie Onyando November 11th, 2022 2 min read

With the availability of free Wi-Fi in Nairobi, one has to be extra cautious while using the public hotspot.

The government enrolled in the project a few days ago, a move aimed at supporting small and medium businesses.

You might think, “I use public Wi-Fi all the time, and I’ve never had a problem!” Sure, not that you know of, at least.

Most people using public Wi-Fi networks are unaware of the risk of accidentally sharing secret, important, or sensitive information, which could cause a major problem in the hands of a skilled hacker.

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Cyberattacks are rising, and anyone using public Wi-Fi is at risk.

According to the Kaspersky report, 100,192 financial phishing attacks were detected in Kenya.

The largest share of attacks was directed at e-commerce websites (58%), with banks (21%) and payment systems (21%).

Below are some risks public Wi-Fi might pose to you

Log-in Credential Vulnerability

The use of weak passwords while using public Wi-Fi might pose a risk of being attacked online. One has to make sure that they are using unique passwords while browsing.

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Unencrypted Connections

An encryption-free connection allows hackers to monitor all file sharing and traffic that is sent between the user and server on a public Wi-Fi network. A well-positioned attacker can easily track the network users connected to the router of an unsecured network and inject malicious JavaScript into their devices.

Rogue Networks

A rogue network or access point is essentially a “back door” installed on a network’s wired infrastructure without the administrator’s knowledge or consent. This security breach will present itself as a legitimate Wi-Fi connection to trick users into connecting.

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Malware, Viruses

Hackers can infect the public Wi-Fi network, infiltrating the devices that connect to it. Malware comes in multiple forms and has the capability to wreak havoc and spy on the devices it infects. Viruses are malware that spread through a host file and are triggered and replicated by a human without human intervention.

Network Snooping

Another common method of attack is network snooping, which happens when a hacker uses malicious software on a public Wi-Fi network to remotely monitor the activity on a third party’s laptop. This is an avenue for hackers to surveil any information exchange—credit card information, passwords, or any other sensitive details.

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System Update Alerts

Hackers are constantly innovating ways to hijack smartphone devices. One sneaky way to steal information targeting Android devices is through fake system update alerts with data-exfiltration capabilities.

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