We’ve spoken a lot in previous blog posts about cybersecurity and the dangers of falling a victim to cybercrime. Unsecured networks are a definite threat to companies of all sizes that store their data on local devices.

How common are unsecured networks?

A common scenario for becoming a target of phishing attacks is accessing unsecured public networks. These could be ones that are easily accessible in areas like hotels, restaurants, parks, etc., and they are typically not password-protected. Using free Wi-Fi may initially sound like a great idea, but there are in fact a lot of potential dangers to exposing your information and compromising your device, as well.

What are unsecured networks?

Unsecured networks are ones that you can connect to without WPA or WPA2 password verification. These hotspots are usually non-encrypted and the information you send over could become exposed. While some free Wi-Fi networks may have some form of encryption, the standards up to which these are maintained might be low and not safe enough to trust for use.

What are the risks for me?

Exposing sensitive information

If you are connecting to an unprotected network from an end-device that has no anti-virus and anti-malware licensing in place, you are putting your data at serious risk. These networks are very often the channel of hackers to break into your email accounts or to steal your login credentials for pages containing sensitive information. However, this won’t be the case if your desktop environment is monitored for security threats while your data is safely stored on cloud servers. The cloud is purportedly the safest IT space for operating your desktop environment, without worrying about exposing your sensitive information and falling a victim to cybercrime.

Leaving with an infected machine

Connecting to a free Wi-Fi network is really a double-edged sword. You are enjoying the benefits of using free service, but you may easily become a subject to intentional cyberattack without even realizing it. Hackers have started developing fake wireless networks which lure people into connecting and becoming infected with malware, ransomware, or else. The worst thing is that these hotspots can present more than one malicious threats to your device, leaving your machine in a near dysfunctional state.

Becoming infected with maware

Malware is the term used to collectively describe malicious software variants like viruses, spyware, and ransomware. Unsecure networks are the gateway for malware becoming installed into your device and stealing important information. This is usually software that is programmed by hackers with the intent of causing damage to businesses or individuals. One way to prevent this unfortunate occurrence from happening to you is to have updated anti-virus software that is suited to protect you against the latest cyber variants. By choosing to use a cloud-based solution like DaaS, all your data protection problems are solved by your third-party provider.

Becoming targetted by the Man in the Middle (MITM)

You may or may not have heard about MITM attacks. This is basically the intervening person/hacker between you and the unsecured network you are connected to. These people are usually not using pre-set malware, but they are instead navigating through your desktop environment autonomously. MITM can present a big risk to your sensitive information since you don’t know about the ill intentions of the person on the other end.

How to protect against threats in unsecured networks?

One way to reduce the risk of becoming targetted by cybercrime is to avoid unsecured networks altogether. The best advice to stay safe is to stay away from free Wi-FI hotspots, but also keeping the Bluetooth of your end device switched off while working. Hackers are rather inventive and all connectivity ports could potentially be used for causing intentional harm and theft.

We already mentioned that having an up-to-date firewall is always a good shout if you want to protect your systems. Finding an antivirus software that gives you security against the most harmful threats is important, but be wary of the software you’re purchasing and its real capabilities to protect your data effectively.

Cloud desktop solutions like DaaS are undeniably the safest approach to cybercrime and protecting yourself against malicious threats. Cloud providers are equipped with management and monitoring tools to safeguard your data, regardless of the types of malicious threats. Finding a cloud desktop provider which you can trust to keep your data safe, in case you connect to the wrong network, is the best advice you can get.