Nowadays we have internet almost everywhere, even without a data package. We have all been guilty of it, for hunting public WiFi hotspots just for picking up emails or to put holiday photographs on Facebook.
We don’t actually think about that and why would we? Free internet is free internet. There are huge risks to public WiFi networks. You hear that more often, but what can go wrong? We explain it to you.
Public WiFi: ideal, but also dangerous
An unsecured Wi-Fi connection is a network that does not encrypt and protect anything. All your internet traffic can thus be intercepted in this way, in contrast to a secure connection.
With a secure connection, everything you do is encrypted. You can easily identify an unsecured network. An unsecured network does not ask for a password.
Risking login details
The greatest danger lies in logging in to services. Malicious third parties can play a role when you log in to your bank account or Facebook via an unsecured connection. They just need to intercept and filter your traffic. Then they can log into your services and use your online identity. Nowadays, many services encrypt all their traffic, but that is not the case with every website.
Data can be stolen
This is not just about login data. A third party can also read the content of your messages, emails, and other data. In fact, only an Android smartphone and a particular app are needed. Therefore, it is not wise to use an unsecured Wi-Fi network, also for the average internet user.
At home and work, it is essential that you protect all your networks. There are various ways in which third parties can exploit your internet, where you may even become involved in illegal practices.
Stolen bandwidth and illegal practices
Third parties can steal bandwidth. Sounds complicated, but it’s simple: your internet connection has a specific capacity. The more users there are, the slower the connection can be. The users who secretly benefit from your open internet connection thus indirectly bother legitimate users.
That is still an annoying but rather modest example. Third parties can also use your internet to download or distribute files illegally. Think of films, or viruses and even pornography. All traces then lead to you, because you are the owner of the router. So you can get into trouble without you having anything to do with it.
Unsecured WiFi: the open window for Hackers
Finally, they can also break into your devices. Your smartphone, computer, and other gadgets are all connected to your router. If the network is unsecured, then a third party can plunder your computer via that connection.
It should be clear: a secure internet connection is not only essential for large companies. The average consumer can also become the victim of unlawful practices.