Stop Connecting Your Android to Unsecured Networks!

January 7, 2016 Uncategorized

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In August, a recent report came out that probably terrified many Android users. A comprehensive study from Check Point found that many apps contain numerous security flaws that expose millions of Androids at risk. However, there is a more common risk that Android owners pay even less attention too – unsecured wifi.

Unsecured Wifi – the Unspoken Risk Android Owners Face

A 2014 survey on Sophos found that 75% of people believe that public wifi connections are safe. Data also shows that 52% of smartphone owners connect to open or unsecured networks.

The problem is that any mobile device is vulnerable over an unsecured network. However, given the number of Android security flaws that have recently been discovered, Android owners should be especially cautious about connecting over wifi. Hackers can access all kinds of sensitive information if you use open wifi for any of the following activities:

  • Playing online games
  • Sending emails
  • Connecting to Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites

Many Android users don’t realize that many of their devices are connected to accounts with lots of sensitive information, which can be relayed to malicious hackers that are monitoring data pockets.

How to Protect Yourself When Connecting to Public Hotspots

You need to be cautious when you are connecting your Android to any hotspot. However, this doesn’t mean that you should never connect to a wireless hotspot, because many of them are secure (althought that term is always relative). Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Speak with the network owner beforehand. If you are trying to connect to a hotspot at a local café or other business, then you should speak to one of the employees to find out which network belongs to them. Hackers may create a fake hotspot with a similar name to sniff data, so don’t assume you are using to a safe connection.
  • Use apps to secure your data. Google Play has a few great apps that Android users can download to enhance their security.  Hideninja VPN is a great app to make sure outgoing connections are always secure. WiFi Protector is a great app for warding off would be hackers. A third app worth looking into is SecDroid. This isn’t available for all Android devices, but can significantly improve root security.
  • Check network and sharing center. Your network and sharing center will often specify if a network is secure or not.
  • Use connections that require a password or payment. Networks that require a password for access are much more difficult to penetrate. Many airports are currently requiring users to pay for the privilege of using their wifi. While this can be a pain, at least you know that the connection is real and properly secured.
  • Change sharing settings. Many Android users have said that their devices have automatically connected to unsecured networks. This problem can be solved by changing your sharing settings.

There are always risks associated with public wifi. Fortunately, you can significantly increase your security by taking the right precautions.

Image Credit: West Midlands Police

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