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The Risks of Using Public WiFi

Many of us do not have the luxury of having portable WiFi devices, especially in many cases when it is a big hassle to carry around. Many of us then turn to public WiFi as the alternative, since it is seemingly free and efficient. However, by using unsecured WiFi, your private information could be at risk of theft.

What Security Does Public WiFi Have?

It is actually never required of the public WiFi provider's to provide you with security, as free WiFi comes as a luxury and not an imperative. The lack of simple protection and proper data encryption, along with the large number of potential victims, is what makes these free wireless networks open to cyber attacks, identity theft, and data snooping.

The biggest threat to your privacy is the ability for a cyber criminal to insert themselves as a secret intermediary between your device and the connection point. In such case, any information that you send or receive over the Internet passes through the hacker.

Things You Should Know About Public WiFi

  • You should never use public WiFi for online banking. Anyone who manages to intercept an unprotected hotel WiFi connection can snoop on you typing your passwords, login credentials, banking info, and other private information. Even with data encryption tools, it is still possible for snoopers to get through this step.

  • The hosts usually do not monitor their WiFi, but it is entirely possible. They keep a log file of data transactions made by their users, thus your browsing data as well as some of your personal details is on that file. Therefore, hosts can easily find out what websites you visit and how much time you spend browsing the Internet.

How To Stay Safe On Public WiFi

Of course, in too many scenarios we end up using public WiFi anyway for its convenience. Here's how to browse safely:

  • Never log into your work or online banking accounts, and use your mobile data for any financial transactions.

  • Beware of sketchy WiFi hotspots. Hackers create rogue hotspots to trick users into thinking they are legitimate. If you see two similar WiFi names, ask the hotel’s staff which is the real one.

  • Enable your firewall to stay out of trouble in case anyone attacks your hotel network. A reliable firewall provides a strong gateway defence, which means trouble for criminals trying to access your system.

  • Encrypt your data. VPNs are simple encryption tools that can be used by anyone. Its stands for Virtual Private Network – a technology that helps you stay safe even on unsecured wireless networks. It does so by cloaking your IP address and encrypting your online communications. As soon as they are protected, nobody can monitor your online activity.

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