Using a Public Wifi Hotspot – Is it Safe?

You’re settling down in a comfy chair in the café with your latte. You take out your phone, and see ‘FREE Wifi’ in the list of network connections.

However, before you click ‘Connect’, there are a few areas to consider to ensure you don’t get a nasty surprise later…


You should always exercise caution when using a public wifi network or hotspot. If you connect to an open (i.e. you can connect without entering a password) network, be aware that the connection is not encrypted, so others in the same network might be able to watch your activities or capture sensitive data. Not only this, but hackers sometimes create a decoy network which looks legitimate (it might have the same name of the café for example), but is, in reality, a ‘honeypot’, designed to trap unsuspecting users and to steal their data. For this reason, you should never log into banking websites or make financial transactions on unsecured networks. Also, ensure you select ‘Public Network’ when prompted by Windows or your antivirus software to select the network type, to hide your activity from others.


Good antivirus software will have a personal firewall enabled, so invest the modest amount to ensure your antivirus has these and is regularly updated. Additionally, ensure your Operating System, e.g. Windows 10, is up to date. Even if you have a good antivirus package, and your Windows is up to date, the most secure way to browse the internet might be to avoid the public hotspot entirely, and connect using your mobile phone’s data service, e.g. 3G or 4G. Your phone can also act as a personal wireless hotspot accessed only by you, which you can use to connect your laptop. Carrier charges apply, so make sure your browsing doesn’t use up a lot of data, as would streaming video.


If you have concerns about how to maximise cybersecurity on your mobile devices, get in touch with one of our knowledgeable experts today at 091 395413, or

Written by Kevin Newell


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