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Public WiFi – tips to keep your company safe


Public WiFi poses many risks for business in New Zealand and despite it being potentially very dangerous, many are still unaware. Experts (and common sense) say that businesses must understand the risks involved and put protection measures in place.

“Public WiFi is inherently insecure. It took a team of hackers less than 30 minutes to hack all popular devices and, in some cases, it took less than five,” says Adam Smith, country manager, ANZ, F-Secure.

“The hackers collected detailed browsing history, VoIP phone calls, email accounts, all email history and contacts, online financial services, and social media accounts. Once an account has been hacked, it is relatively easy to access other accounts, such as Gmail and PayPal, as people tend to only use a couple of passwords. Cracking an email account is valuable because people often store other account and password details in their email.”

“Accessing a Facebook account may seem trivial but a smart attacker knows that the information they can gain from Facebook is useful,” Smith says.

“For example, by knowing your interests, they can craft a phishing email that you are more likely to open. Alarmingly, some people use similar passwords for their Facebook account and, say, their PayPal account, which leaves them open to financial losses,” he says.

Despite the risks, people shouldn’t be feel afraid to use public WiFi, instead we just need to take steps to protect ourselves and the companies we work for.

F-Secure has identified five tips to stay safe on public WiFi:

1. Use a virtual private network (VPN).
These can be downloaded as an app for phones and tablets.
“F-Secure’s Freedome VPN encrypts all data travelling from the device to the network,” says Smith. “This means hackers can’t steal anything useful. Simply turning on the VPN gives users the best protection possible to stay safe over public WiFi.”

2. Turn off sharing.
If your device is set up for sharing, disable these settings before logging into a public WiFi network.

3. Control your connections.
Many devices are set up to automatically connect to wireless networks but you can turn this off. This protects you from malicious networks set up specifically to steal your information.

4. Use two-factor authentication.
This type of authentication most commonly involves a code sent to your mobile phone so that a password alone is not sufficient to log into accounts such as email or banking.

5. Turn on your firewall and use anti-virus software.
This monitors incoming and outgoing connections and can provide a first alert if your system is compromised.

Need help?
If you want to learn more about keeping your company information safe, visit our website today and give us a call on (09) 526-1800 or send us an email at and let us help you out.