Automatically Connecting to Public Networks

Categories: End Users Information Security

It seems everywhere we go, free wireless networks seem to exist. From our favorite local coffee shop, to the McDonalds down the street and even in the parking lots of a doctor’s office. While these public networks seem great, especially for those of us with limited data plans on our smartphones, we have to remember these networks are not secure and can be easily compromised. Even more worrisome, your phone or computer might be automatically connecting to these networks.

I ran into such a situation the other day. I was a little early for a doctor’s appointment and had my laptop with me so I thought I would catch up on some notes. When I turned on my laptop, I noticed I had connected to a network. This concerned me because there was no reason my laptop would have access to this network. I opened my network settings to try to get to the bottom of why it just “connected” to this unknown network. As I went through trying to decipher what network settings were enabled, I came across “W-Fi Sense”. In the description, above the On/Off radio button, it stated“Connect to suggested open hotspots”. I immediately disabled this setting because I want to be in control of networks my computer connects too.

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Personal computers are not the only devices that can auto connect to a network. Androids and iPhones/iPads also have the ability to auto connect to hotspots. I recommend disabling these features on those devices as well.

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As always, if you have a question or concern, contact your support specialist

 

~Cynthia Hobbs

Written by: , DASNR IT

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