Public WiFi is convenient, there is no question about that, but is it safe? Public WiFi networks are available in many places, at several hotspots ranging from the airport, a favorite coffee shop or a park. There are two kinds of public WiFi networks: unsecured WiFi networks which you are able to connect within range, without having to enter a password and a secured WiFi network which requires the user to enter a password, agree to legal terms or log in to an account.

What to be aware of

However, it also comes with its disadvantages which can cause significant problems to the user. Regardless of the connection, one has to exercise caution as public WiFi is not always safe. If there are no other options available to you and you are pressed to deliver an assignment or you are up against a deadline, then you must be aware of the risks involved with connecting to free public WiFi. Free public WiFi has its security issues one of which manifests itself when the network is accessed at the same time by many users at the same spot. If the firewall on your device is not able to block or prevent outside interference then you become susceptible to cyber criminals accessing your valued information.

Cybercriminals are always lurking and spying on public WiFi networks. They are able to intercept data and transfer it across the link. What happens is that they position themselves between you and the connection point, and so instead of talking directly to the hotspot, the information you send will go directly to the hacker. Be mindful that each piece of information you send for eg. email, credit card information, phone numbers, account information, business data etc. goes directly to the hacker. Personal information that you wish to keep secure falling into the hands of cybercriminals can have a catastrophic effect on your personal life and business ventures.

People are attracted to public WiFi networks for a number of reasons. They are available to connect for free and it saves them money on data charges. Students benefit a great deal from using free public WiFi especially if another source is not available to them. If public WiFi is your only option, simply following a few precautions and being aware of the dangers will greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of hackers.