With the internet all around us now there are times when we take technology like this for granted. For example, you will tend to find stores or restaurants that allow internet access on their networks. If they do not then there is a good chance that you will try to find somewhere else to go to. Well maybe not if their food is really good. At that point you might just try to make due. But if you are traveling around the city with either a laptop, tablet, or powerful smart phone then you want to be able to use it. Sure, you might have a data plan to use your device but many people do not and they do not want the device to just languish there while other people around them are able to surf the web.
But sometimes not being able to get what you want is a good thing. Not getting what you want will help you avoid unforeseen trouble. And the trouble that you can run across when it comes to using WIFI at your favorite restaurant or book store is that you can become a victim of a man in the middle attack.
What is a man in the middle attack?
A man in the middle attack is an attack that goes after a known weakness in wireless networks. When you are using the internet, the data travels back and forth between the computer that you are using and the wireless router. That data is then sent to the initial person or server that you were sending it to. It is all pretty routine. But there are ways for a black hat hacker to be able to intercept this data without you knowing. They will take the data, copy it, and then send it on its way like it never happened. They then take the data and use it for their own nefarious purposes.
There are several ways that you can protect yourself from a man in the middle attack. Your first line of defense is to make sure that you are careful with what networks you log into. Make sure that you need a password to get into the network. You do not want someone who is not in the restaurant to be able to get in the network and snoop. Also when you visit sensitive web sites on these networks, make sure that you use the “https” designation when on the sites. This means that you are using an encrypted version of the log in.
Man in the middle attacks can be dangerous but they are also easily avoidable.