Many people because of poor data connections or because they want to save data on their data plan are always looking for public WIFI to hook into. Most people that use public WIFI are aware that they should never conduct confidential work over a public WIFI connection as you never know who is watching. So they never open confidential files and share on a public network.
Guess what cyber criminals know that people are looking for ‘free’ public WIFI and some have set up their own public WIFI just for people that are looking for a free place to hook up. Just like meeting someone in a bar, the ‘name’ of the WIFI connection may or may not be legit, you have no idea as to the real identity of the router you are using. So if you are really savvy, when you hook into a public WIFI you never disclose any confidential information, business information or banking related files or use your passwords or logins. You are confident that no harm will come to you because you are really careful when using a public network.
But if you are like millions of people your cell phone or tablet may use file sharing. File sharing services like ICloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive help you do work with other people and/or allow you to save files on one device to be later used on another device. If you are on a WIFI network and you have file sharing ‘on’ you may be opening yourself up to sharing all of the information to a cybercriminal that is just waiting for you to use their network. Not just what is on your laptop, but also what is on the file sharing services.
Worse yet the cybercriminal may leave you with a new folder or set of files that if you ‘click’ on will load malicious software on your computer. So once you go back to the office with your laptop and login, you have now exposed your entire network. So if you do not want to share all of your files:
Turn off file sharing on Windows
1. Search for "Control Panel" then click to open.
2. Under "Network and Internet," click on "View network status and tasks."
3. On the next page, click "Change advanced sharing settings."
4. Under "File and printer sharing," click off "Turn off file and printer sharing."
5. To prevent network snoopers from seeing your computer, click off "Turn off network discovery".
6. Save changes.
7. To undo these settings follow the same steps in reverse
Turn off file sharing on a Mac:
1. Open your Mac's System Preferences (the gear icon on your dock).
2. Click on the "Sharing" icon.
3. On the next "Sharing Page," uncheck File Sharing.
4. It is recommended that you uncheck all the other sharing services here when connecting to public Wi-Fi.
5. Close the window
6. To undo these settings follow same steps in reverse