Government Issues Warning About Free Wifi

( The Biden White House is advising federal workers to avoid using public Wi-Fi connections, in a directive that should have come a long, long time ago. It comes after the National Security Agency released new guidance for the National Security System, the Department of Defense, and defense industrial base users over the dangers of connecting to public Internet connections.

At a time when Russian and Chinese hackers are regularly hacking into government systems and private business networks, this guidance is all the more important.

The NSA and the Biden White House advise that federal workers should connect either using their own personal hotspot or a corporate-owned hotspot. Any Internet connection used for the transmission of sensitive information should use encryption and authentication.

In situations where federal workers cannot avoid connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, the guidance says that the users should connect via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that is provided by their agency. Using a VPN would make the data transmitted via the network invisible to whoever owns the connection, or at least it will do in most cases.

Furthermore, users are advised to only stick to secure websites when connecting via public Wi-Fi connections.

Naturally, the NSA also advised leaving devices unattended in public spaces – but if any federal worker was doing that anyway, they probably shouldn’t be working for the government. The NSA also warned of the importance of installing the latest operating system updates, avoid accepting random Bluetooth pairing requests and avoid NFC data transfers.

It’s good to see the Biden White House and the NSA taking these steps, but doesn’t it feel…too little too late?