Mobile devices have transformed lives by facilitating advanced communication through the Internet and the various forms of sharing data. These have revolutionized personal and business engagements. However, there is a potential risk of compromising the privacy and security of mobile users due to the invasion of unauthorized persons with ill intentions, who are using various methods—one of them being WiFi networks.
Wi-Fi happens to be one of the best and most vital functionalities on mobile devices. It makes it possible to access the Internet from nearly everywhere without the hassle of paying for costly mobile data. A common feature among Android and iOS devices is the Wi-Fi auto-join feature, which was designed with convenience in mind. Unfortunately, with the proliferation of Wi-Fi and mobile devices over the past decade, the Wi-Fi auto-connect has ceased being useful and has instead become a nuisance and a security threat.
Problems with auto-connecting to Wi-Fi
Despite the advantages of the Wi-Fi auto-connecting feature in offering convenience and helping save mobile data costs, it poses several issues to the users of mobile devices. The following are some major issues that automatic connecting to Wi-Fi networks presents:
- The possibility of your device leaving stronger networks for weaker ones that come within its range. The developers from Android and iOS have put in concerted efforts to prevent this, but with insufficient success. Essentially, when your device changes to a weaker Wi-Fi network, it ends the first Internet connection, rendering your Internet usage unstable. You then have a low-quality experience when connected to the weaker network.
- The risk of devices connecting to unsafe networks that may expose users’ data and privacy to undue risks. When you join a public Wi-Fi network and you are unsure if it is a secure network, you can connect to a network clone. This is a cyber-attack that tries to steal passwords and usernames for crucial accounts, which they can later use to do fraudulent things, such as emptying your bank account or spending your credit card.
- The users do not enjoy a peaceful experience due to the constant alerts of changing networks.
So, how can users avoid these issues? Well, to handle the above issues posed by auto-connecting to Wi-Fi networks, vehicle owners—especially passenger commuter vehicles—should have secure Wi-Fi networks on their vehicle. The commuters can connect to this and avoid connecting to unknown and possibly unsafe networks. The fleet owners or management can engage Eyeride for on-vehicle Internet provision through portable Wi-Fi routers. This can help to improve their customer service and increase revenue and profits.
Some precautions with auto-connecting to Wi-Fi
While there are problems relating to auto-joining Wi-Fi, you can re-enable your device’s auto-join feature by following the procedures provided in the manufacturer’s manual or the maker’s official website. But before enabling the auto-join feature, you should be fully aware of the associated risks and the other options you have for dealing with your Internet connectivity.
Some precautions when auto-connecting to public Wi-Fi include:
- Despite security experts’ incessant advice to users to avoid using public Wi-Fi, many can hardly imagine not using them. As such, those who have to use these networks should restrict their use to finding directions on apps for navigating, comparing prices, or catching up on some news stories. The consumers should at all costs refrain from logging into their email accounts, bank accounts, or doing credit card transactions, like online purchases.
- Consumers should disable the auto-connect option so that they have to request to join networks. Before connecting to any network, ask the vendor of the premises or those who run the network for the correct Wi-Fi access point details, like the name and if the network is secured in any way. The reason for this is to avoid connecting into hackers’ Wi-Fi, as they tend to create their networks with similar names to the genuine ones to trick innocent and unsuspecting users.