World Wi-Fi Day Highlights the Risks: Public Wi-Fi Networks as an Unsafe Option

With over 30 billion devices globally connected to Wi-Fi networks, which cybercriminals exploit to expand the scope of their attacks, it is concerning that 35% of North American users access public Wi-Fi networks three to four times daily, leading to a staggering 40% of them experiencing compromised information.

Are we truly aware of the inner workings of our cell phones and routers? According to a recent study by Forbes, it appears that 35% of North Americans access public Wi-Fi networks three to four times a day, leading to 40% of them experiencing compromised information at some point.

On the occasion of World Wi-Fi Day on June 20th, Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a globally recognized cybersecurity provider, emphasizes the significance of utilizing secure wireless networks. These networks facilitate mobile connectivity for over 30 billion devices and play a crucial role in preventing cyberattacks on users. This is particularly important in the Asia Pacific region, where Check Point Intelligence has witnessed a substantial year-over-year increase in weekly attacks during the first quarter of 2023, averaging at 1,835 attacks per organization.

However, cybercriminals perceive this platform as a valuable tool for their nefarious activities, constantly expanding and refining their techniques. To ensure safe web browsing, Check Point Software offers the following essential tips:

  1. Avoid connecting to unknown Wi-Fi networks: Cybercriminals frequently exploit popular tourist destinations to create fake wireless networks, posing as legitimate businesses. Even authentic networks provided by hotels or restaurants often lack adequate security measures. It is generally advisable to refrain from using such public networks, and if necessary, avoid entering sensitive data like bank details or important passwords on applications or websites.
  2. Limit browsing to secure pages: While modern browsers have integrated systems to warn users about accessing websites without HTTPS certificates, this alone is not foolproof. It is good practice to carefully examine the complete URLs of visited sites and avoid illegitimate domains created by cybercriminals.
  3. Stay vigilant on secure networks: Using a network that is considered secure often leads to a false sense of security, making individuals more susceptible to attackers’ traps. One fundamental aspect of cybersecurity is maintaining constant alertness, thinking before acting, and avoiding impulsive clicks or data entry.
  4. Exercise caution with suspicious emails and messages: Phishing, the act of stealing identities to acquire sensitive data like passwords, is a common tactic employed by cybercriminals. It is crucial to refrain from clicking on links in unfamiliar emails and abstain from downloading any files from unknown sources.
  5. Utilize unique and robust passwords: Employing the same password across multiple accounts or relying on easily guessable credentials like “123456,” “password,” or “June2023” makes it easy for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access. To ensure security, passwords should consist of at least 12 characters, combining letters, numbers, symbols, and a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters. If struggling to create or remember passwords, there are platforms available that can generate and securely store them.
  6. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA): In the event that a password is compromised, having additional layers of security becomes essential. Enabling 2FA adds an extra confirmation step, requiring user authorization before accessing the associated account. This acts as a deterrent to cybercriminals and safeguards our accounts.
  7. Keep devices updated and protected: As cybercriminals continuously seek new avenues for their misdeeds, a simple yet effective approach to thwart vulnerabilities is to apply security patches and updates for identified bugs. Regularly updating devices and applications is an easy and efficient way to ensure protection against potential threats.

“Wireless networks are an essential part of today’s digital society, being the main capability responsible for keeping us connected” shares Teong Eng Guan, Regional Director, Southeast Asia and Korea, at Check Point Software Technologies. “Associated with trusted places such as our home or work, we often tend to let our guard down when connecting to and surfing whilst using public Wi-Fi networks. It is imperative to keep cybersecurity measures and senses alert to avoid any kind of risk and for users to be able to surf networks in a safer way.”