Wi-Fi: freedom to connect wherever and whenever. And there is no better Wi-Fi than free Wi-Fi, unless we are talking “secure Wi-Fi” which usually isn’t free. Wi-Fi is great for bringing in customers and it’s a great promotional tool that creates customer loyalty. Merchants such as hotels, coffee shops, burger joints and just about anyplace with a store front, chairs and tables is offering free Wi-Fi.
But what about all the Wi-Fi security threats?
More and more internet savvy people realize that there is less and less anonymity on the web. This means that a criminal who operates from home or work can be detected via his IP address much easier. One way to avoid detection is to show up you’re your place of business and blend in with the connected crowd.
Criminals use free Wi-Fi for:
Pirating: Downloading stolen music, movies and software via Peer to Peer programs is big and costing the entertainment industry billions. The RIAA and MPAA don’t like this and will often crack down on whoever is connected to the IP address associated with the illegal downloading.
Child Porn: The long arm of the law is often spending time in chat rooms posing as the young and vulnerable and chatting it up with pedophiles who exchange in child pornography. Wouldn’t be cool if the FBI to came knocking.
Hacking: Hackers will hack others on the free Wi-Fi network in order to steal usernames, passwords and account information.
Creating a secure Wi-Fi that requires a user name and password to join. This may not prevent all kinds of e-crimes but it’s a start to improve your Wi-Fi network security. Charging even a dollar may get a credit card number on file and would mostly eliminate anonymity.
Web filtering: Your IT security vendor has tools similar to what a corporation may have in place that filters out known websites and prevents the sharing of Peer to Peer files.
Confirm you are on a business account: Many small businesses may set up under a personal account because it might be a bit cheaper. But that personal account doesn’t enjoy some of the protection and indemnities that a business account would.