Beware of using public Wi-Fi networks, Abu Dhabi Digital Authority warns residents

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on July 12, 2021

(Reuters file)

Cyber criminals are on the prowl to dupe unsuspecting users.

Residents have been warned against using public wireless networks in a bid to avoid the growing risks of their devices, emails or data to be hacked by cyber criminals.

The warning was issued by the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA), who tweeted hackers use public networks to gather sensitive data from the public. “If possible, always use your own data network connection or make sure you have a VPN installed,” the ADDA tweeted.

Free Wi-Fi is available at airports, shopping malls, restaurants, gymnasiums, hotel rooms, coffee shops, libraries, public transport and other places in the UAE and thousands of people are using the free Internet service.

“However, many people don’t realise that Wi-Fi is seldom secure,” said a cyber security expert.

“People should use the free Wi-Fi with caution. Even if the Wi-Fi requires a password to login, it doesn’t necessarily mean your online activities are safe,” he added.

He cited that some public Wi-Fi spots have unencrypted networks, which cyber criminals use to dupe unsuspecting users.

“If you use public Wi-Fi, you need to have adequate protection, else, you’re essentially risking your online personal details and cash,” he said.

Users have also been advised against opening links or attachments they receive via email or SMS from unknown sources while using a public Wi-Fi.

Update software, mobile apps

The ADDA has also urged the users to update their software and mobile applications (apps).

“Keeping your apps and operating system (OS) updated will give you better security while you travel. Make sure your devices have the latest security patches installed before leaving home,” officials added.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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