Free Wi-Fi is an attractive prospect to all of us, especially on holiday in countries where roaming charges still apply, we can hop on the and catch up with the world. Rarely do we give a thought to security. It has to be secure, doesn’t it?
Well , no is the short answer, public Wi-Fi networks by their very nature have to be open and this means they are normally far less secure than your private network at home. Even public Wi-Fi networks with passwords are not necessarily secure and this means there is potential for people to snoop on your web browsing.
The good news is that websites that contain important information, such as banking, emails etc. are encrypted so even if someone has intercepted your browsing they won’t be able to see the details. In fact any site with https:// at the start of the address is encrypted; the S stands for secure. It is the sites without this S that the snoopers may be able to see.
But now more bad news: there have been instances of criminal gangs setting up in hotels and broadcasting a replica hotel network, people have then unwitting connected to these networks and been exploited either by revealing details directly or by downloading malware, Trojans and other nasty bits of code which can gain access to their information. These gangs focus on high end hotels and elsewhere the risk is low, however it is something you should be aware of.
Some Cyber Security expects state that you should never use a public network due to the risk of hacking, this might be a little bit paranoid but it is certainly worth being cautious and you should never download anything as part of the log on process.
To stay secure you really have two options:
It’s a bit of a pain having to take the time to be careful but ultimately it will be worth it. If you left your homes front door unlocked, the chances are nothing would happen, but you still wouldn’t risk it. The same principle applies on the web, we hold a lot of personal information on our devices these days and the last thing you want is to hand this over to someone else.
I hope you have found this a useful, if you have any questions please comment below. If you like this post please share and like. You can find us on Facebook.