Why you should never connect to public WiFi networks

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While Microsoft has announced the existence of a major WiFi security flaw in Windows, it’s important to note that it’s always best to avoid connecting to public WiFi networks, where it’s easy to have your personal data stolen.

Microsoft has revealed that a security flaw in Windows allows hackers to take control of a PC remotely, simply by being connected to the same WiFi network. They could then execute code remotely and take control of the device.

While it’s highly recommended to update your operating system to protect yourself from this type of attack, it’s worth remembering that it’s always risky to connect to a public WiFi network over which you have no control.

Many public WiFi networks are not protected by adequate encryption, starting with WPA2. This means that your data travels unencrypted across the network, where it can be easily intercepted by hackers. The same people can also create fake WiFi hotspots with misleading names resembling legitimate networks. If you connect to such a network, you run the risk of having your data stolen.

In any case, the biggest risk of connecting to an unsecured WiFi network is that of having your personal data stolen, starting with passwords, bank details and so on. Beware too of malware, which can easily be spread over public WiFi networks.

Finally, those operating a malicious network can monitor your online activity at any time. For all these reasons, it is strongly advised not to connect to public WiFi, especially for sensitive activities.

However, if you really must connect to a public WiFi network, in a train station, café or hotel, for example, don’t forget to take certain precautions, starting with activating your device’s firewall.

When on public WiFi, don’t carry out any online banking transactions or purchases, don’t log in to your personal accounts, and avoid downloading files or clicking on suspicious links. Remember to disable file sharing on your device and, if you can, to use a VPN. – AFP Relaxnews

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