Personal info at risk when you shop on public Wi-Fi

Cyber experts say when you connect to a public wi-fi at an airport, shopping mall, mobile gallery or café, you actually allow the access of malware in your device which can compromise your data and device.

Priyanka NavalkarUpdated: Saturday, January 02, 2021, 12:24 AM IST
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Amid end-of-season sales on e-commerce websites, the cyber criminals have broadened their net and are targeting online shoppers. The cyber experts have warned the citizens that if they are indulging in online shopping and are connecting to public wi-fi only to save mobile data, think twice as the credentials and online activity are vulnerable and at risk. Connecting to a public wi-fi at airport, shopping malls, mobile gallery or even a cafeteria, you are allowing the access of malware in your device which can compromise your data and device, cautioned cyber police.

Using public Wi-Fi for shopping poses a ton of risks, which broadly targets the likes of the victim and then dupe them by sending out similar phishing emails that could cater to their interests. Explaining the drill, a cyber expert said, the guests connected to Wi-Fi networks can be easy targets for cybercriminals, who can launch a variety of attacks to target their victims, which includes infiltrating a poorly secured network.

"The cybercriminals monitor the victims’ traffic and redirect them to fraudulent login pages. Moreover, another threat that is growing online is the 'evil twin' attacks, wherein the attacker creates a malicious Wi-Fi network that carries a similar name to the establishment's network to cheat users and gain direct access to the devices," said the expert, adding that public Wi-Fi could also meddle with device's online activity.

A senior Cyber official said that worm attacks and vulnerabilities of username, passwords are some of the most common risks that come along with the use of public Wi-Fi. "When shopping online on a public Wi-Fi, our device could give out the residential address, username-passwords, our interests among others, which could backfire on the user and compromise the security. One should always practice to check the website link whether it’s Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (https) and always give a close eye to the details. The website could be a fake one, with identical markers to fool the customer," the official said.

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