Five Ways to Protect Your Company from Public Wi-Fi Hackers

As we covered in my last article on this topic, public Wi-Fi has become a hot target for cyber criminals who often take advantage of busy travelers and commuters.

Whether it’s man-in-the-middle tactics, rogue Wi-Fi networks, or shoulder surfing, if one of your employees happens to get caught up in a cyber criminal’s trap, your company’s sensitive information and financial security may be at risk.

As with all good risk management, the first step to avoiding loss is prevention. By educating your employees with the following information and addressing the exposures of public Wi-Fi, your business will have a better chance of being secure.

While there isn’t one solution to address every challenge that exists, the following preventative steps can help reduce the risk of you or your employees being targets.

Five Ways to Protect Your Company from Public Wi-Fi Hackers

  1. Protect Your Private Information Online (including Autofill Forms and Browsing History)

This includes banking details, social security numbers and home addresses. If your web browser asks you to store this information (often for convenience), just click no. The last thing you want is a database of private or sensitive information a few clicks away from a nefarious party—this data can be very valuable in the wrong hands.

Additionally, if you’re employees have to log in using a public computer, ensure they clear their history once they’ve done their work.

  1. Use Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Typically, when you access a website on the internet you start by connecting to an internet service provider (ISP).  As you surf the web, you pass through an ISP’s servers, which means they can see and log everything you do online.

While it’s unfortunate, it’s not uncommon for this data to end up in the hands of advertisers, government agencies and potentially nefarious third parties.

A VPN redirects your internet traffic through a secured “tunnel” that hides your IP address and encrypts all the data you send or receive. This means that your online activity would be much more protected in public settings.

While it does take a little work to implement, it’s a worthy investment as it can secure an internet connection, protect your companies’ privacy and conceal the identity of the computer user.

We would advise you to do your homework in order to pick a trusted VPN provider, as some VPNs have been breached in recent months.

  1. Only use SSL Connections (HTTPS).

If you don’t have a VPN, there are still ways to emulate best practices. When surfing the web, only access websites that have an “https://” at the beginning of the URL.

This dignifies that the website has a Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which means the router is encrypted and would make it difficult for hackers to play Man in the Middle.

It would be best to enable the “Always use HTTPS” option on websites that you visit frequently, which can be enabled in the settings of your laptop.

  1. Turn off Sharing/Bluetooth.

Relatively simple, but important. Turning off file sharing and Bluetooth on your laptops/phones is a great way to reduce the likelihood of the hacker gaining access to your information. This should be relatively easy to do if you’re on a phone or modern operating system (this is usually nestled within your connection settings).

  1. Purchase a Cyber Policy

Beyond proactive measures to protect your employees and business, investing in a Cyber Liability policy can provide your company the ultimate protection and coverage from financial damages that occur from a data breach.

Always be sure to review your policy with a trusted broker to make sure you are covered properly. If you have questions about how you can best train your staff or if you want to see how cyber insurance can play a role in protecting your business, please feel free to contact me.

About Craig Myers

Craig Myers empowers his clients with strategic insurance resources and high-touch guidance on managing and mitigating risk. By providing a range of Property & Casualty solutions—including safety programs and claims management—Craig is able to help organization’s address their specific challenges and ensure the success and growth of their business. In his role, Craig is focused on the unique challenges currently facing clients in education, finance, tech and entertainment.

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