Miscellaneous 2 min. read

Why Protecting Yourself from Public Networks is more Important than Ever

Why Protecting Yourself from Public Networks is more Important than Ever

There shouldn’t be any one reason to motivate you from keeping your computer safe. Bank account information, passwords, and other personal data are far too valuable to leave unprotected. But, have you thought about your computer’s performance?

A cyber attack is most likely to occur when you enter a public network at a library or airport. It is in these moments, if you’re not using some type of virtual private network (VPN) protection, that your laptop or mobile device can be compromised. This was the case for a Beunos Aires Starbucks’ patron last year.

Although none of his sensitive data was stolen, Noah Dinken later tweeted that his computer had been used to mine a privacy-centric cryptocurrency, Monero. The CEO of Stensul then reported the same issue on three different occasions when moving about the Argentinian city.

He first noticed the problem after enduring incredibly decreased levels of performance. Then, upon investigation, he discovered portions of malware from Coinhive in Starbucks’ source code. The malware ultimately takes up valuable GPU in both laptops and mobile devices to mine cryptocurrencies.

2018 has birthed yet another attack vector. Piggy-backing on the rise of cryptocurrencies from last year, unprotected users are now vulnerable to mining attacks. Coinhive isn’t the only culprit either. Man-in-the-middle attacks used for these ends have spawned a number of other illicit mining initiatives, as well as mine-blocking software.

While mining crypto has become less cost-effective as the price of digital currencies skyrockets, it is still lucrative to pool together hundreds of different computers. In this way, unsolicited users, much like Dinken, give away precious computer power in exchange for mining services. Not only that, but mining victims are also vulnerable to more traditional attacks on user data.

But, the best way to foolproof your laptop or mobile device is simply through VPN software, like Hotspot Shield. By using this kind of protection, you prevent malicious agents from accessing sensitive information as well as any novel vectors that could be on the horizon.

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