It’s a bit curious that the Government of India is setting up 750,000 new public wifi hotspots, besides setting up many more in airports and train staions, while they are also warning against using them. Following recent global cyber attacks on public WiFi systems, they have issued a strong warning against using public WiFi platforms, especially at airports and railway stations. But don’t panic. It really doesn’t mean you can’t use public wifi. It just means you have to take precautions to be safe.

The Indian agency that is responsible for identifying and stopping security risks, and warning the public about them, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in), has issued a warning that is categorized as ‘high’, with the statement that, “Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities allows an attacker to obtain sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails etc.” This warning was issued within 48 hours of the KRACK attack on public WiFi systems all over the world. This attack has left all WiFi routers vulnerable to malware and virus attacks, as the security protocol WPA2 has been breached.

Be sure all your devices are updated, and also update the firmware of any routers you own or have access to. Merely changing the password of one’s Wi-Fi network will not prevent or mitigate an attack, though it’s a good idea to do it anyway.

So is it better not to use free wifi? Not without a reliable, secured VPN, that’s for sure! If you already have one, don’t fail to use it. If you don’t, please stop what you are doing and get one immediately. Like right now.

A VPN safeguards against having your personal information hacked when you use public Wi-Fi hotspots. They can also help you circumvent being tracked by your Internet Service Provider, your IT department at work, and even government surveillance.

A key way to protect yourself is using a VPN. Since a virtual private network creates a tunnel that encrypts your personal information and browsing activity, anyone using a reputable VPN is safe from a Krack Attack. However, the key word here is reputable. There are some good free ones—Tunnelbear generally being the most highly rated—if you don’t want to opt for a paid service, but do be aware of the limitations.

In any case, it’s important to verify that your VPN doesn’t keep logs. Here’s more information about factors you should consider when selecting a VPN to protect your privacy and keep you safe from potential hacks. Be sure to get a VPN that is fast and convenient and that has a simple, auto-connect function.

Whenever you use a public Wi-Fi hotspot—even one that’s password protected—stick to websites that use HTTPS encryption. Secure websites remain secure even with Wi-Fi security broken. The URLs of encrypted websites will start with “HTTPS,” while unsecured websites start with “HTTP.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s excellent HTTPS Everywhere browser plug-in forces all sites that offer HTTPS encryption to use that protection.

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