How To Use Public Wi-Fi Securely!

Posted on by Martin Quinn in Security Blog Leave a comment

By Samantha Woollard (Internet Security Specialist) 17 April 2017

Do you have frequent coffee meetings with colleagues or clients and need to access company information using the cafés free Wi-Fi?  DON’T! Have you ever used free Wi-Fi to log into your online banking? DON’T! Public Wi-Fi is not safe and hackers love to take full advantage of this.

Wi-Fi hotspots are incredibly practical for us be it for social media scrolling, work and private email checking and other business needs. However, they are a potential risk and are just as handy for attackers to steal your private information.

Below are some tips to secure your information if you need to use free Wi-Fi in public places.

Tips to minimise your risk

1. Be smart – Firstly, be aware that any information you send over Wi-Fi hotspots is up for grabs to anyone who has even a bit of an IT background. Your online banking details, usernames and passwords are all out in the open. Try not to use sensitive information or visit anything private whilst using free hotspots.
2. Check Authenticity – Be careful to which hotspot you are connecting. It is possible for a malicious actor to put their own hotspot in place and perhaps disguise as the cafés Wi-Fi. A popular name is ‘_FreeWi-Fi’ as the punctuation puts the hotspot to the top of the list and we are all guilty of being distracted by the word ‘Free’. If you connect through an attacker’s hotspot then everything you do will be recorded by them. Make sure to verify with the café, restaurant, library etc on the name of their network and the password before connecting to any Wi-Fi.

3. Disable File Sharing – If you are a Windows user, make sure to turn off file sharing and mark the connection as a public network. To do this: Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change Advanced Sharing Settings and uncheck the file sharing option. Another extra precaution is to turn on Windows Firewall by: Control > System and Security > Windows Firewall
4. Over HTTPS – Ensure that the sites you are accessing are over HTTPS by looking at the address bar or for the security lock sign.
5. Patch! Patch! Patch! – Always have software up-to-date so that no current exploit can be used against you. Regarding Wi-Fi, keep your web browser, software, anti-virus and other internet-connected devices are all patched.
6. Two-Factor Authentication – It is always good practice to use two factor authentications where you can. If a hacker could obtain your password then there is another layer of protection in place that they will not be able to get past.
7. Use a VPN – A Virtual Private Network encrypts all traffic and ensures a safe way of using the Internet. It also masks your IP address so that phishing and man-in-the-middle attacks are reduced.
8. Log off and Forget– Once you have finished using the Wi-Fi connection, log off from any services you were using and forget the network. This prevents your phone from automatically connecting to it again when you are within range. Remember to always turn off your Wi-Fi if you are not using it to stop it from connecting to random open hotspots when you are out and about. Another tip that helps with this is to disallow your device to connect automatically within your Wi-Fi settings.

Security for us is not only when you have a strong password. Security for businesses is not only what happens within the company building. Protecting yourself and your business is an ongoing process. The tips above can help everyone reduce their risk of attack and loss of personal information and sensitive data to crafty hackers lurking in public areas.

Relax. Your security is Intact.

Author: Intact Security


Declassified Report States Russia’s Involvement In US Election

Posted on by Martin Quinn in Security Blog Leave a comment

By Samantha Woollard (Internet Security Specialist) 16 January 2017

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, enforced a campaign to sway the votes in the 2016 US election in Donald Trump’s favour, boosting his chance of winning, according to a declassified report released on Friday 6th of January.

The report did not state how exactly the campaign may have altered people’s decision when voting or in fact if it resulted in Trump being elected. What was included was that there were various hacks ongoing throughout the election. These included attacks into email accounts of political figures and officials of the Democratic Party. There was also evidence found that members of Russia’s government were paying “trolls” to spread fake news about Hilary Clinton just days before the election.

Trump had been quick to dismiss any findings obtained by the CIA on Russia’s interference and with his opinion on the attacks changing every other day, it is hard to understand what actually has been going on. Trump first believed the attacks were from Russia, but did not comment if they were imposed by Vladimir Putin. Days later, he took back his allegations commenting that anyone could have done it. Now he has stated that he does believe Russia was involved in the hacks but also other countries and people. Leaders of his own party have been expressing their concerns on the topic.

In a new twist, it was revealed that during the attacks, Russian operatives not only found damaging information on Hilary Clinton but claim that they have obtained compromising personal and financial information about Donald Trump. This information is said to be held to keep him inline with the Russian allegations and to show that even though they had information on both parties, only information on Hilary Clinton was released.

Obama has expressed his feelings to Putin about the situation and has stated that actions shall be taken. However, with just days before he steps down and Trump takes his place, there has been no sign of any action. Will it be all swept under the carpet when Trump takes charge?

During a party on New Year’s Eve, Trump was asked about the problem with cyber security at the moment and his response was “No computer is safe”. He preceded to say that we should do things the old fashioned way and send anything important via courier if we really wanted our information to be secure. In debates leading up to the US election, Trump has expressed his doubts in the current security issues, that we had to “do cyber better” and about  “closing that Internet up”. Even though Trump clearly does not know a lot about cyber security and sending us into the past of using couriers is in noway going to help the issue; he does make a good point, “no computer is safe!”

With such large-scale attacks causing global chaos and an average of 90 million attacks a year, more still needs to be done to help prevent cyber crime. With obvious threats to the election, the US stated they were prepared for a Russian cyber attack, but were they actually fully prepared?

If there was an approaching threat to your business, could you confidently say that you are prepared?
Intact Security can assist your business, we conduct Risk Assessments, Threat Analysis, Penetration Tests and have a plethora of useful tools to help fend off an attack. Click here to find out more.

Relax, your Security is Intact.

Author: Intact Security