More than 63% of Internet users in Latvia regularly use password unprotected public Wi-Fi access points. 67% of Internet users in Latvia do not pay attention to even the simplest rules of Internet security, often leaving their personal information wide open for hackers, according to results of a survey by OMD Snapshot.
Young people aged under 24 are the least careful when it comes to safe Internet surfing – 87% of them regularly use unprotected Wi-Fi access points.
44% of Internet users have no idea as to what exactly ensure the security of public Wi-Fi access points. With that, users actively use public Wi-Fi access points to enter social network profiles and other websites, which opens the way for hackers to gain access to personal information and passwords. Every fifth respondent has admitted using unprotected Wi-Fi access points to purchase items on the Internet. Such behaviour is found twice as often among youngsters. What is particularly interesting is that use of unprotected Wi-Fi access points is more characteristic for men than women – 70% and 58% of cases, respectively.
CERT.LV manager Baiba Kaskina notes that personal information is subjected to a number of risks when using unprotected Wi-Fi access points: «Residents should keep in mind that Wi-Fi available in supermarkets and cafes is not always safe to use. Users cannot possibly know who is connected to the network and if it is safe to send information without fear of it being intercepted. It is fairly easy to access another person’s connection and acquire their personal data.»
According to Kaskina, lately there have been discussions held in some countries about modifying free Wi-Fi services. Users who agree to connection conditions are shown altered Internet content. This may include additional advertisements. Such a solution can be potentially used for criminal intent.
Latvian State Police adds that unprotected Wi-Fi access points should be used very carefully: «Public networks do not request authentication. This can result in public Wi-Fi users becoming victims. Criminals use software to read Internet users’ personal data. With that, residents should understand that performing payments in unprotected public networks is especially dangerous. Users of public Wi-Fi access points can never be sure about the security of the access point. Public access points do not save information. Because of that, it can be very hard to track down criminals,» – explains spokesperson of State Police’s Economic Crimes Prevention Office Aleksandr Bespalov.
Cert.lv and LMT offer recommendations for safe Internet surfing using mobile devices:
Regular updates of software and OS are the main factors in making sure a device remains secure. Make sure to carry out regular updates whenever the system requests it.
One security factor that that makes it difficult for criminals to access information stored on mobile devices is the security code for the device’s display. It is used to unblock the display using a code. Although many devices offer using special drawn symbols to protect information stored on them, a numerical code is more efficient from a security viewpoint. On top of that, drawing on the display leaves fingerprints, which makes it easier to find out the secure drawing.
It is recommended to install an anti-virus programme to help check incoming data and programmes on the device. It can help prevent most risks and reduce the possibility of malicious software being installed.
Block a stolen or lost phone
If a device ends up lost or stolen, it is necessary to have the SIM card and the device itself blocked as soon as possible to make sure no one can access information stored on the device. It can be done by calling your mobile service provider and informing them of your wish to block the device. It is also a good idea to block the bank account as well to make sure criminals cannot access banking services using information stored on the device. Changing passwords to e-mail addresses and other profiles will do no harm as well.
Use trusted websites
One very important security aspect for mobile devices is the use of safe software and their procurement from trusted sources. The biggest app stores that care about the security of their clients check the security of the apps sold on their store-fronts personally. If the source is unknown or illegally procured software is installed, it can result in serious security risks for the device and information stored on it.
It is important to have security passwords for all Internet services accessed using mobile devices. The password should have eight or more symbols. In order to prevent a situation when all passwords all the same and easily decipherable, it is worth using special password management apps that save passwords in an encrypted file. It is worth keeping in mind that the password management application also requires its own secure password.