Possible Security Risks of Using Public Wi-Fi? How to Stay Safe?

Possible Security Risks of Using Public Wi-Fi? How to Stay Safe?

Gaurav Nagpal |

Internet access grows by the day, with public networks now connecting people everywhere. Business centres, airports, hospitals, public parks and restaurants are a few places you can easily get online via public Wi-Fi. The advantage of free public WiFi is obvious - you can read emails, reply to messages and browse social media from almost anywhere. The problem is that not many people think about free Wi-Fi security risks. Yes, using public connections has major safety issues that should always be at the back of your mind. In this guide, you will learn about the dangers lurking in open networks. Also, get a few crucial public WiFi security tips to help you stay safe.

Public Wi-Fi Security Risks

The open connections available in public areas have weak security protocols that make them easy targets for cybercriminals. For this reason, users face various threats that could compromise sensitive data. Below are common public Wi-Fi security risks:

Unencrypted networks

When you send information over an unencrypted network, it means any third party can access it. Encryption provides a lock and key to prevent authorised access. Most WiFi networks don't have encryption, leaving you vulnerable to hackers, scammers and identity thieves.

Malware distribution

One of the biggest public Wi-Fi security risks is falling victim to malicious software (malware). Malware can create holes in your operating system or programs, allowing the culprits to get into your device.

Malicious hotspots

One way cybercriminals lure unsuspecting online users is through rogue access points or malicious hotspots. They set up fake connections and trick you into joining. Hackers use false public networks to spy on users and collect their information.

Wi-Fi Snooping and Sniffing

Another method hackers use to attack online users is through special spying tools. When you connect to an open network, cybercriminals can snoop on your activity and collect login credentials, giving them access to your accounts.

How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Now you comprehend what could happen when using free internet connections. However, you can still take advantage of these networks if you know how to safely use public Wi-Fi. The following best practices should reduce your risks. 

1. Stick to encrypted websites when browsing to ensure that all the data passing from your device to the WiFi router is safe. Check that you are on an HTTPS site, which guarantees an additional security layer. If your browser gives you the option to always use HTTPS, allow it. 
2. Try not to use public connections to access sensitive information. Don't open your online banking app on free WiFi because you risk that information falling into the wrong hands. 
3. File sharing and AirDrop should always be off when on public networks. If not, anyone on the same hotspot could access your files or send malicious documents to you. 
4. VPNs are not only suitable for accessing geo-restricted content. They have robust security features that come in handy when using open networks. A VPN hides your activity, making it harder for hackers to get to you. 
5. One of the most crucial public WiFi security tips to follow is activating two-factor authentication on your accounts. That extra security layer is vital, especially if you log in often. You can use password managers to make it easy to track your credentials. 
6. Install antivirus software on your laptop, tablets and other devices. Updated antivirus tools safeguard your machine against viruses and other threats. Depending on how extensive your coverage is, the software can scan for threats when you connect to a public hotspot. 
7. One of the most ignored public WiFi security tips is updating operating systems, apps and browsers regularly. Updates usually include security patches that reduce the risk of falling victim to different kinds of cyber attacks. 
8. When you finish using free open hotspots, log out of all accounts and forget the network. Additionally, make a habit of turning off your WiFi, especially on your phone, to avoid connecting automatically to networks you have used before. You can turn off the feature by adjusting your device's automatic connection settings.

About Refurbished Phones

Knowing how to safely use public Wi-Fi can protect your device and ensure you enjoy it for a significant while. Of course, the type of phone matters as well. Refurbished phones are a chance to own an updated device with advanced features, including security measures. A refurbished device is previously owned but has been through repairs and checks to ensure that it's running optimally. It's cheaper than a brand-new phone but well-serviced and fully operational. So, if you are looking to upgrade your device but lack the budget for a new one, consider refurbished phones. You can get your desired model without ruining your finances.

Wisetek Store is one of the reputable sellers you can trust to get high-grade refurbs. With more than 10 years of experience, the experts understand what customers look for. The wide range of refurbished phones ensures you can easily find a make and model that meets your requirements. Whether you are getting your first smartphone, looking to test a different make or upgrading, you can be confident of the quality of devices at Wisetek Store. You get a 12-month warranty with your device and an optional extended warranty.


Smartphones and other internet-enabled devices need a lot of care. Regardless if you are using a refurbed phone or laptop, you must be careful when connecting to public networks. The public WiFi security tips highlighted in this guide give you a blueprint on how to protect yourself and your devices.