Precautions for connecting to Public/Open WiFi Networks

During the second week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month we are raising awareness of the dangers of public/open WiFi networks (e.g. retail stores, hotels, airports, and conferences).

While convenient, precautions need to be taken when connecting to public/open WiFi networks to ensure that your passwords, credit card/banking information, and personal information stay secure:

  • Password: Remember, if the wireless network is not asking for a password to connect it's most likely a public/open network with no security.
  • Encryption: In many cases look for a small lock symbol or the word “Secured” next to the name of the WiFi network to verify networks that use encryption.
  • HTTPS: Get in the habit of looking at the URL to make sure the website connection is secure. Before entering any personal information make sure the URL starts with HTTPS.
  • Data Sniffers: Assume any communication that is not encrypted could be compromised. Hackers will frequently use "data sniffer" tools to capture data sent to and from public WiFi networks.   
  • VPN: Use NJIT Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing NJIT services from off campus. A VPN connection will extend NJIT's private and secure network to your device and provide an additional layer of security. If you connect to non-NJIT resources while off campus and would like to have an additional layer of security that the NJIT VPN provides, make sure to select "Full Tunnel(Library Journals)" for your VPN group.
  • Fake WiFi networks: Some hackers create open WiFi networks to trick unsuspecting users. Look for poorly formatted WiFi names or a portal page that requires you to create a username/password - verify the validity of the wireless network with the establishment; exact name, login procedure.
  • NJIT Secure: Always use NJITSecure when connecting from on campus. NJITSecure uses industry standard security practices that encrypts all network communication.  

For more tips on staying secure when connected to public/open WiFi networks read Secure Thoughts: Public Wifi Security The Dangers That Lurk And The Tips And Tools That Will Save You.

Don’t forget to come visit us in the Campus Center on Tuesday October 16th from 10AM-2PM to test your Cyber IQ.

For more information about other effective cyber security habits, check out NJIT's Cyber Security webpage.

If you have any questions about NJIT's cyber security efforts, or need to report an incident, please contact the IST Service Desk at 973-596-2900 or https://servicedesk.njit.edu/.

NJIT Cyber Safe and Secure

2018-10-11

Last Updated: October 29, 2018