How Safe is it to Use Public Wi-Fi?


When you’re working remotely, is public Wi-Fi your greatest asset, or your greatest threat?

Most of us don’t so much use public Wi-Fi, we rely on it. It’s how we’re able to work in coffee shops, airports, and hotels. But how safe is it to do so?

The truth is that the danger is very real and we can’t ignore it in the name of productivity.

Here is what you’re up against.

The Risks of Public Wi-Fi

The problem with Wi-Fi attacks is they come in all shapes in forms and the safeguards we put in place are always reactive and playing catch-up.

Hackers may very well invent some new type of cyber-assault by the time you finish this blog, but in today’s world, you may fall victim to:

  • Man-in-the-Middle attacks
  • Malware of all sorts
  • Snooping and sniffing
  • Fake / malicious hotspots

There are only a few of the risks and there is really no magic bullet solution that will protect you from everything.

Never Do Your Banking on Public WIFI

We know it can be very hard to talk you out of working online over Wi-Fi. However, the one thing you absolutely need to avoid doing is any sort of banking online on a public connection.

This could mean checking your balance or accepting an e-transfer from a client. It could also mean opening your PayPal account to send or receive money.

e-criminals are literally sitting back and salivating while they hope someone logs onto their bank over public connections.

If you must do any of these things online, wait until you’re on a more secure connection in an office or at home.

How to Protect Yourself

The most important thing to know is that you’re never completely safe, and you may have a whole new list of tactics in 3 years. As soon as hackers see that society has caught on to what they’re doing, they change frequency and do something else.

At the very least, you will want to:

  • Avoid online banking or any sites with your health records at all costs
  • Get a quality VPN to protect your connections
  • When using your phone or tablet, don’t log into any apps with sensitive information. You’re better of going to the website and making sure it uses HTTPS before logging in
  • Never auto-connect to a public Wi-Fi, even if you see yourself working there for a few days in a row
  • Kill your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re not using them
  • Never log into a network that isn’t password protected. It could be a hacker trying to lure you in
  • Disable file sharing
  • Be sure to only go to sites using HTTPS when browsing

These are just the basics and you need to make them a regular part of your booting up and shutting down routine every day.

Whether you’re setting up to work for 10 minutes or a full 10-hour power session, make sure you’re always doing the best you can to protect yourself.