Wednesday - Aug 23, 2017

Is free Wi-Fi a bit of a trojan horse for the business traveller?

Is free Wi-Fi a bit of a trojan horse for the business traveller

When free wireless frequency (Wi-Fi) internet connections first became widely available, the international business traveler greeted it with open arms. No more time wasted in airport departure lounges, between appointments in an unfamiliar city or in the lobby of a hotel. Wi-Fi was everywhere and where ever you went you could see business executives wrapped up in their own world, their lap tops working flat out, sending and receiving information, creating reports, listening to music, watching a film or even playing some online roulette. Wi-Fi had arrived and the world of the business traveler was complete.

That was until a very dark cloud arose on the horizon that looked likely to rain on these happy surfers. The cloud carried a rain of bad news, and that was that the majority of Wi-Fi routers were un-encrypted and therefore liable to be hacked by cyber criminals. In simple terms, one of the people sitting next to you typing away on their smartphone might not be writing a letter to their mother but instead hacking into your computer, inserting a virus or two, or even worse accessing your private security information which can then be used to clean out your bank account, order a load of goods through your credit card or steal your identity.

Sounds a little far-fetched? Unfortunately it’s a reality, with statistics showing that only around half of the Wi-Fi networks across the globe have any former of security back up, and that the only thing protecting them from being compromised is the simple-to-crack password that has often come together with the router when it was installed. Passwords that offer no protection as even the lowest level hacker will have sufficient capabilities and means to crack it, and within minutes.

Once a Wi-Fi network has been cracked, then any computer connected to the internet on that network is susceptible to attack, and the knock on effects of such an attack could be catastrophic.

Thankfully, for most members of the international business community the age of innocence is long since over. Some have learned the hard way while others are still unaware that any computer, smart phone or indeed any device that is capable of being connected to World Wide Web is susceptible to virus attack and needs to be protected.

Cyber hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated with an increasingly large arsenal of spam, malware, Trojan horses and bot nets that can cause damage to business frameworks that could run into billions. The cyber criminals who lurk in the background of the information technology worlds are no longer enthousiastic amateurs hacking computers for kicks. Today they are professional criminals who constantly sweep the net looking for weak links to exploit. The only way that every computer owner can protect themselves and their information is to install the most powerful anti-virus protection software on the market. The cost is minuscule when compared to the damage, emotionally and financially, that being a victim of cyber crime can cause.

Being protected means that you can once again surf when you want and where you want and without fear.

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