Learn about network management and security. Part five of a five-part series on how to keep your information online safe.
Open / Private Network Rules
In the world we live in today, anywhere you go you will most likely find a WIFI connection, and if you don’t have cellular data or if it is limited, you are probably going to connect to the Open Network that is available. On the other hand, when you’re at home, then you will be using your home Private Network.
Open Network is a WIFI connection that is hosted for the general public, it could be very useful at times, but do NOT enter any personal credentials in an open network. Privacy is non-existing in an open network, anyone with bad intentions can monitor your traffic and track what you’re doing.
Private Network is the connection you will usually find in your workspace, home, or most of the other living spaces (hotels, airbnbs, etc.). Private networks are reliable and more secure, but that does not mean they are completely safe.
We will talk more about different attacks and ways to be manipulated in the ‘Red Flags‘ section.
VPN and Network Traffic Masking
We have previously covered how to secure your internet browser, and now we will help give you a better understanding of how network traffic works, and how a VPN is very helpful.
Every request you make to view a website involves lots of data to be transferred from the server hosting the website to your machine. All this is done in milliseconds, so any manipulation of your request won’t derive your attention. Edward Snowden, a former NSA employee. Recently released a book called ‘Permanent Record‘. Where he explains how network monitoring works, and how is the NSA involved in it. According to the book, whenever a request contains the broad selection of keywords that were selectively chosen by the NSA, your traffic will be directed through NSA servers, giving them the ability to use exploits based on your browser to track your activities, access your mic, and camera(s).
Benefits of a VPN
VPN is very effective if you want to maintain a high level of privacy. Not all VPNs are equally private, make sure that you sign-up for a VPN that follows a strict no-log policy. No-log policy is the practice of not recording activity/server logs that can reveal users’ activities. Benefits of a VPN… VPN conceals your IP address and masks it with an IP that is provided from a remote location. VPN can bypass censorship of content based on your geo-location.
Red Flags And Possible Attacks
There are many dangerous ways your system and information can get compromised while using the internet. It is hard to be fully secure, but taking small steps to make yourself more secure and learn network management, will grant you peace of mind. Here are some popular attacks that you can be aware of…
Evil Twin is an attack that is directed toward your WIFI connection. The Malicious attacker will clone a WIFI connection that you usually use and forces you to connect to it. Your WIFI will work like it normally does, except that the attacker can now monitor all your traffic and inject malicious code into your PC.
Evil Twin can also be done on public WIFIs, it can be a ‘Starbucks WIFI’ but in reality, it is someone framing the WIFI to get you to connect to it. To avoid such an attack is hard. Try to regularly turn off your WIFI once you are outside of your home, and try to avoid using banking, or any personal information gateways in a public WIFI.
Packet Sniffing is when an attacker receives/collects data that are related to your network activity, being able to see what websites you visit, and the information you enter. If you are connected to a public WIFI, the information that you will type (passwords, emails, links, etc.) will be decrypted and easily read by the attacker.
Packet Sniffing can happen once you are either connected to an Evil Twin or a malicious attacker is connected to a WIFI that you’re connected to.
Congratulations and Thank You for reading Part 5, and We hope it was helpful and gave you good insights into security practices. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified of the upcoming posts.