Is Free Wi Fi On The Go a No No ??


Most of us will have used free public Wi-Fi, whether sitting in the airport lounge or grabbing a coffee in between meetings, but how aware are you of the significant risks facing your business every time a member of staff logs onto a free Wi-Fi network?

These risks are significant enough for in excess of 65% of CIO’s in the USA to have introduced HR policies instructing staff not to use Free Wi-Fi, for any business related matters. It is not clear why UK businesses appear to be more relaxed about these risks, but one view is that UK businesses have not been provided with the information to appreciate the magnitude of their exposure or vulnerability to free Wi-Fi network use.

So for the avoidance of any doubt, if  you or your staff use Free Public Wi Fi or any unsecured Wi-Fi then not only is their personal information at risk (log in details, on line banking info, emails etc.) but so too is your company information at risk (harvesting of corporate data, intellectual property, business emails etc).

A hacker can within “seconds” launch a basic Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attack, which will monitor all of the data used by your employee, as it travels from the users device to his target location. It is also important to consider that if one of your staff’s devices are breached in this way and the hacker secures access to his device, in one simple step the hacker could have access to every device on your company network.

If still not convinced spend a few minutes ‘reading’ the terms and conditions you agree to before you log on to a free Wi-Fi service, (as we all normally do anyway !!), where it can be openly declared that by accessing the network you are agreeing that your data will be exposed to access by unauthorized third parties. Interestingly on reviewing some T&C’s you may also find that you may also be agreeing to the network owner itself harvesting some of your personal data.

What is the solution – there are two primary approaches to mitigate these Wi-Fi risks and to stop eavesdropping exposure:

  • introduce a staff policy instructing staff to stop using free Wi-Fi
  • or instruct staff to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which encrypts the data going or coming from the device making it useless to hackers.

At Outsource we use certified Wi-Fi engineers to design, install and manage Wi-Fi solutions so we understand deeply the real benefits and reliance businesses have on Wi-Fi.  We believe businesses need to ensure their own internal Wi-Fi is as robust and secure as possible but also critically they need to take pro-active actions to immediately remove the risks associated with free unsecured Wi-Fi services.

Check out our services to find out more.

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