How Secure is Public Wi-Fi?
There will be instances when you would have to connect to public Wi-Fi in order to avoid incurring high data charges. However, most people are wary of connecting to public networks, mainly because they think that these are not protected and secure. If you are one of these people, then you have probably experienced the inconvenience of looking for a Wi-Fi powered establishment just so you can connect your device to the Internet. There will be instances when connecting to a public Wi-Fi is the only choice that you have. The least that you can do is to look for a secure network that will not expose you and your device to unwanted parties.
How secure is public Wi-Fi? That is a good question. Free Internet access is virtually available almost everywhere, thanks to today’s modern age, but are you sure that you will not be exposing your device to potentially harmful agents? Here are some things that you should know before you hit the Connect button and power your device with a public connection.
Different Types of Network Security
As you roam around public places, you will get notifications that indicate availability of connections and networks. Should you connect your device to any network that you find? Probably not. Before you connect to a network, make sure that it has the right security in place.
There are three main types of network security that you should know about: unsecured, password-secured, and web-based. This different kinds of network offer different kinds and levels of security, depending on the credibility of the institution or establishment that hosts the connection.
The first one is the unsecured network. More often than not, you will be able to connect to this kind of network without inputting a password. While it may seem that you hit the gold mine when you find an unsecured connection, you should think twice about connecting your device because this kind of connection is usually rife with viruses and other agents that you do not want in your device.
You will also come across password-secure Wi-Fi connections. This kind is common among establishments that want to keep non-customers from accessing their connection. This kind of network is usually safe, especially since you would have to key in the right password in order to use it, but you should generally avoid sharing confidential data and information.
If you are checked in a hotel and you are able to access a connection but by encoding an ID and a password first, then you have detected a web-based network. This kind is secure and safe to use as well, but you may have to renew your log every time you close your browser or refresh your device.
Among these three types, the safer and more secures ones are, obviously, the ones that has a security filter in place. You can freely connect your device without worrying that your details and data will fall into the wrong hands. As a general rule, try to steer clear of unsecured connections. If it cannot be helped, make sure that you limit your usage to the minimum.
Other Notes on Security
Connecting to an unsecured connection or website will expose you and your device to users that can cause you trouble. For example, a hacker can use the same connection and gather information that you may not be willing to share to other people, much more to strangers. While this possibility is relatively small, you can never be too sure. You can avoid exposing yourself to unwanted parties by generally avoiding connecting your device to sketchy networks.
There will be instances when you would have to connect to an unsecured network mainly because it is the only one available. In this kind of occurrence, just make sure that you limit your usage to necessary online tasks that cannot wait. Keep yourself from accessing an unsecured public Wi-Fi in order to tend to personal matters, like online banking or online shopping for example. If the task can wait, then you are better off finding another connection and doing it some other time.
How secure is public Wi-Fi? Most connections are generally safe and secure, but this does not mean that you should connect to them and use them for all your online dealings. When it comes to using a public connection, you should always be on guard and make sure that you are not freely giving away personal information and data that can be harmful when they fall into the wrong hands.