Lessons Learned from World Cup Wi-Fi Security Gaffe
Fans around the globe have all eyes on epic soccer matchups cheering for wins and grimacing at errors. One error off the field has also been receiving attention – the World Cup Security Center’s Wi-Fi password reveal. While Symantec has already identified several scams surrounding this international football event targeting consumers on social networks, the incident serves as a reminder that not only awareness of risks and scams online but also proactive security habits are key to protecting your information from hacking or data theft.
Follow these secure Wi-Fi habits #ForTheWin:
Safeguard your passwords
If the World Cup Security Center had only followed this tip: Create strong passwords and keep them secure from prying eyes. Passwordmeter.com actually scores the security center’s password as “very strong”, with an 88% score. Where this went wrong was the display of this password in plain view. Do not store passwords on devices to prevent loss or theft of these ‘keys’ to your private information. With all sensitive information, take care not to email or store passwords in shared spaces.
Always create a custom password for your home or small business Wi-Fi routers. A strong password is one that cannot be easily guessed, use eight characters or more and use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters (e.g., # $ % ! ?).
Beware "free" Wi-Fi
Your average free public Wi-Fi isn’t secure. Just because you need a password to log in, this doesn’t mean you have an encrypted signal. Anyone with just a small knowledge of hacking skill can easily tap into your signal over unsecure networks and “sniff” your passwords. Do not logon to sensitive sites, such as online banking, while connected to public Wi-Fi. With the right tools, this is almost as easy as listening to the same radio station on two different devices (Wi-Fi uses radio signals to broadcast).
Use VPN (Virtual Private Network)
As its name implies, VPN creates a private network for you to shuttle information back and forth. Think of it as a secure telephone line instead of shouting out your conversation to everyone present in the room.
Safe Mobile Browsing
Remember: Banking and shopping from a mobile device could reveal personal and financial information if you are connected to an unsecure network. Avoid connecting to an open Wi-Fi network while you’re browsing on your mobile by adjusting your smartphone’s default settings – disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi automatic connections.