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Dangers of Public Wifi: What You Need to Know

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Public Wi-Fi hotspots have had their fair share of criticisms in recent times, and rightly so. With so many people using them, and with them not being 100% secure, they provide a hacker’s perfect ideal setting for stealing identity and information.

Despite people thinking it’s okay just to check a message rather than their bank account, these networks are not safe, and so hackers if trying can still get access and make their way to your personal information such as email passwords and log-ins.

If you are unaware of the dangers of using a public Wi-Fi hotspot, then this article aims to give you a better understanding of the problems they can potentially cause.

You Are Opening Yourself up to Be Hacked

One of the main threats of free Wifi is the possibility of hackers to get in-between you and the connection point. This means instead of you communicating with the hotspot, you could be tricked into communicating directly with the hacker themselves through their own rogue Wi-Fi network which they themselves have set up. Yes, that’s true, these hackers know exactly how to send you fake login pages which look exactly like the original, and the more gullible person will not notice any difference to a normal login page. Before you know it they could have access to your entire bank account in seconds.

Your Data Isn’t Safe

As these networks are used by many third parties, your data is not exactly safe and what you search can even be checked up by the host if they please. Many people will use public wifi when out and about to save usage chargers from using their data plan. However, it is highly recommended to use a good data plan itself rather than free-wifi as logging into this you have no idea if there is anyone spying on the network, praying for their next victim. Unlimited data plans such as the Turbo Speed NBN plans are recommended as these will keep you from incurring extra charges, as well as having to use a free Wi-Fi.  

Dangerous for Children

Children and younger teenagers using free wifi can also be potential targets for pedophiles who can if they want can find out where they come from and exactly where they live just by finding their data through a rogue hotspot. They will be able to get names and Facebook data of home location if provided from unencrypted data as it travels across an unprotected network, which is terrifying. This is why it is recommended to share as less as possible online so not to be as high a risk.

How to Be Safe?

In order to avoid being attacked when using public Wi-Fi spots, make sure to keep your software patched and constantly updated. Use a good anti-virus and make sure it is up-to-date. Don’t share any sensitive information over a public network unless you are 100% sure the connection is safe. Another good point is to switch off automatic connecting to Wi-Fi networks to prevent your device from connecting to a rogue and corrupted network without your consent. And lastly, always look out for HTTPS in your browser as this indicates that SSL encryption is active and means communication is likely to be secure.

About the author


Andrew Solovay