ibVPN WiFi Hotspot Security

Smartphones carry a lot of user information that can be used to launch cyber attacks. And most people connect to the Internet through public Wi-Fi using their smartphones. ibVPN warns that this is a very bad combination security-wise.

The data recorded on smartphones usually includes the user’s name, number, birthday, email, exact location, and similar details on phone and other linked contacts. Connecting the phone to other accounts gives it further access to all information and functions of those accounts. ibVPN explains that the sophistication of today’s cyber attack techniques makes it fairly easy for hackers to gain access to unprotected devices. You can get hit and you won’t even know what happened or how, even if you later figure out that something went wrong. The hardest part is actually finding the device. The best place to search for devices is at Wi-Fi hotspots. Everyone uses public Wi-Fi because it is free and readily available. Hackers enjoy it because it is an unsecured connection that can easily be manipulated. When smartphones use public Wi-Fi, they are essentially seeking out these attackers. When smartphones carry a lot of data that is unprotected, they are inviting attackers to swoop in and take it.

Email and Social Media

Most smartphone users link their email and social media accounts to their smartphones. This gives the phone access to all the personal data stored on these account profiles, ibVPN warns, along with the various posts and instant messages that are on the accounts. All the users contacts are similarly accessible, along with the various functions of the accounts. This is meant to give users convenience, but can be potentially dangerous.

Smartphone apps for these services use a single sign-in that leaves the accounts open at all times. Staying logged in to any account allows free access to all the information stored on that account. It also allows anyone who gains access to the device full control over the accounts. Attacks aimed at gaining control over email and social media accounts are hacker favorites. These accounts not only have a lot of valuable data that can be sold or used to gain access to financial accounts. These accounts also give them doorways to other people who are linked to the accounts, and enough information to launch attacks on them as well. Every successful entry is another potential score of tens and hundreds of prospective victims.

GPS

Using GPS and other locator apps on a smartphone allows attackers to know the user’s location and movements. This is the same as being followed everywhere you go, only safer for the attacker because there is very little chance of being spotted or caught. People who go after user location data normally cannot use this alone to hack into bank accounts. But this data is very valuable to advertisers who use it to sell marketing campaigns. It is a huge privacy risk, and although being robbed physically is not as common as cyber theft, there is always the chance that it could happen.

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Public Wi-Fi Hotspot Safety

People should ideally avoid using the free Wi-Fi available at cafes, fast food joints, and the like, because the risk is just too great. But most people depend on the ability to connect to the Internet at these hotspots. Instead of giving up the convenience of public Wi-Fi, ibVPN suggests that users take a few precautions to safeguard the all the data that is accessible through their smartphones. Using a VPN, keeping Wi-Fi and other connectivity off, maintaining secure passwords and always logging out of accounts can dramatically reduce the risks of using public Wi-Fi.

The first safety measure is to have a VPN and use it every time you go online. A VPN will encrypt your data and traffic so that anything you send over public Wi-Fi cannot be read by anyone but the intended recipient. The VPN server that reroutes your communications will provide additional malware protection that keeps infections far away from you. The alternative IP address that you get through this server will anonymize your traffic and throw people off your track.

Next, make sure that the smartphone’s Wi-Fi is always turned off when it is not in use. Automatic Wi-Fi detection should also be turned off. Some hackers set up Wi-Fi hotspots for the purpose of getting devices to connect to them. Once connected, the devices are loaded with malware that gives the hackers complete access. The same goes for Bluetooth and 3G and GPS. As a rule, if you’re not using it, turn it off.

Finally, make sure that you have different, secure passwords for each of your online accounts. Passwords are a main line of defense against account hijacking and data breaches. The most secure passwords are random strings of characters, but these are difficult to remember and you might end up storing them on your device. That would be disastrous. Instead, think of details that are memorable to you but that no one can guess from any information that you have shared. Put parts of a few of these together and you have a secure and memorable password. Repeat the process to get a password for each online account that you use often and from your smartphone. Other accounts can be secured by randomly generated passwords, and if you forget them, use the “forgot password” feature to get back into your account. Then be sure to log out of each account when you are done using it. Passwords are useless if you are logged in.

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