Awareness

The HOPDADDY experience – The dangers of public wifi with great food

Wandering in Istanbul, Turkey

At HopDaddy Burgers - Instanbul, Turkey

This week, I visited Istanbul, Turkey! It reminded me a little about Jamaica, at least how the taxis drive aggressively through the streets. In the evening I felt hungry so I began walking about looking for good places to eat. I stumbled upon a restaurant called HOPDADDY Burgers. In the early stages of visiting a country, I usually try to play it safe and then later get adventurous with their food because I don’t want to risk becoming sick too quickly. I entered and received a smiling welcome from a lovely waitress. She was stout, light skinned and had a piercing in her nose. The best part was, she spoke ENGLISH! This is significant because although I could just point at the menu and order, finding people in my section of Istanbul, who spoke English, was challenging.

What I ordered – the 200 Calorie option. Living dangerously!

Front of the HOPDADDY menu, I think

I now know Schweppes is A THING outside the Caribbean

The flip side of the HOPDADDY menu

The menu was full of great options so I asked her to show me the spicy Burgers! Those are usually the exciting ones. I picked one and chose a seat. Food has an amazing way of relaxing us when we are stuffing our face and feeding our hearts. When we’re relaxed we often times let our guard down because we feel so content. For the mobile junkies who eat and use their smartphone to Snap, shop, bank, browse and do stuff for the Gram, you can easily forget to check whether the website you’re logging into uses HTTPS. When you’re on your home Wi-Fi or using mobile data, you may feel some comfort about your security because it’s more private. While, on some restaurant’s Wi-Fi, not so much! My real concern to you is that “free” or public Wi-Fi is not intended to be trusted for sensitive or confidential personal activities such as banking.

My opinion is that “free” or public Wi-Fi is not intended to be trusted for sensitive or confidential personal activities such as banking.

Don’t forget to turn on data roaming before you leave your “home” country

I realised international travelling can be fun but also a little irritating when you end up in a foreign country, which barely speaks your language, and your wonderful smartphone is of little use to you because you cannot access the internet (without Wi-Fi). #1stWorldProblems. This could prevent you from using Google Maps while on the road. Google Maps is almost essential nowadays if you don’t want to announce that you’re a tourist. Fortunately, call roaming was enabled so I could call the little numbers I previously saved.

My unpaid marketing efforts. Still check them out though

I asked my waitress if they offered free Wi-Fi and she said yes with a small grin. She was cool, I like her. I received the password and like most restaurants using their password protected “free” Wi-Fi, it used a WEAK password. Before you get fussy, there’s nothing reeeeally wrong with the weak password and here’s why:

  • You’re not expected to be doing anything highly sensitive/confidential on customer Wi-Fi, it’s for customer access. Anyone who orders is now a Customer and entitled to the password.
  • Customers should not have a hard time connecting, such as figuring out symbols or needing to call IT.
  • “Free” Wi-Fi is more than just internet, they are a part of the marketing effort. When you scan for Wi-Fi on your smartphone, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to make an impression on you with the broadcast name of their Wi-Fi network.
  • Passwords are more than just passwords, they can help push the brand. Sample password “I Love HOPDADDY”. Note: Not their real Wi-Fi password.

If you happen to lose your username and password on public “free” Wi-Fi, you may be at fault for relaxing too much. Remember “free” Wi-Fi is not intended to give you privacy or protection from attackers, just to give you internet access. So please, when out on public Wi-Fi:

  • Lower your expectations of FREE, especially in public spaces.
  • Avoid logging into sites if you do not see HTTPS to the left of the website’s address in your browser.
  • Avoid reusing passwords. In case one is compromised it limits your other accounts being accessed with the same password.
  • Avoid logging into applications that have a bad reputation, period!

Stop by HOPDADDY Burgers and give them a try if you pass through Istanbul, Turkey. The food was pretty good! Google them, Don’t confuse them with HopDoddy, two different places.

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Gavin Dennis

Gavin Dennis is a Cyber Security Consultant and aspiring CISO. He helps companies and people around the world to protect their digital assets and has worked with companies in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. He is experienced in Penetration Testing (Network and Web), Social Engineering, Vulnerability Assessments, IT Security Risk and Compliance, and IT Security Incident Response. Additionally, Gavin is a CompTIA SME and separately produces educational Cyber Security content through his articles, websites, and speaking engagements.

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