I can sit here in this local business and type out all the reasons why clients should not connect to free WiFi services but I’m not here for that today. This time I want to focus on the businesses that offer free WiFi to their clients. It’s almost expected nowadays that if you visit a business and have to wait for service to something you brought in, or maybe a cafe where you can put your feet up and get to those files you needed to update that the business offer you free Internet. Business owners beware that if you haven’t correctly setup your internet access then you have unintentionally opened up your private network to everyone that comes in to connect! I’m not going to show you what I have access too or where I am for that matter but trust me, this business is vulnerable and it wouldn’t take much to bring this business down. How you ask? I noticed that most companies use computers for their cash registers that are connected to the same ISP box as all their clientele, their debit machines, their stored files, printers etc. Not many businesses run by pen and paper these days. The wrong person can start sniffing traffic, poke around in connected computers, unleash malware. The possibilities are endless and if you shut the network down, life for the business gets very difficult. Not to mention all the connected clients with their devices are now vulnerable as I can see who is connected, what device they are using to connect with and what IP and MAC address they have. Just a virtual playground.

There are things you can do to protect yourself. The best thing would be to contact a local IT company and have them come in to asses your network. They can usually quote what it would take to lock down the network. You can expect anywhere from $500 and above. You may think this is expensive but more than likely new equipment will have to be purchased as regular ISP routers and modems are not built with a lot of security in mind when sharing your internet connection with clientele.

Should you be running a business and sharing your internet, By The Byte can come and asses your network and quote what it would take to secure the service and separate it from your businesses private network. Don’t risk losing everything or losing your connected clients information as well. Lock it down and play safe.

For the record, I’m not leaving this establishment today until they put in the basic security with the equipment they have.