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It is important to understand that public WiFi, as the name suggests, is open to anyone who wants to connect to the Internet. The user could be anyone, even those harboring the evil intention of compromising your private information for personal gains.
Here’s how they do it:
Unsecure Network: Yes. Even though Wi-Fis come with standard encryption protocols, you can never be sure if those protocols are 100% secure or not. Take for instance the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability, which could allow hackers to monitor or pry on your private information.
MITM Attack: KRACK or other types of vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi networks can also lead to Man-in-the-Middle (MTIM) attacks. A MITM attack gives hackers the ability to listen in on the data transmission between a user’s machine and the server.
Hacking Kits: There are hacking kits available that let cybercriminals compromise free WiFi hotspots. By using such kits, they can see what web pages you are viewing and even what credentials you are using to access your online accounts.
Fake Hotspot: Remember that hackers continuously come up with unique ways to steal your online data, and using a fake WiFi hotspot is one way to do it. A hacker near you may lure you into his trap by creating a malicious hotspot through which he can easily infect your device with malware or a key logger. As a result, the attacker can easily take control of your device and your private information.
If you want to join a free WiFi hotspot and do your usual online activities without worrying about cybercriminals, you should use a virtual private network such as PureVPN. A VPN allows you to encrypt your data transmitted between your machine and the Internet, hence securing your Wi-Fi for good.
So, even if any hacker tries to access your data on a public network, the data itself won’t be accessible or legible to the hacker due to encryption.
Moreover, PureVPN makes it easier for you to secure your WiFi on Android with just a click. What you only need to do is to toggle on the WiFi protection feature from the Settings and you will be on your way to a secure internet browsing experience.
Apart from encryption, PureVPN also allows you to spoof your IP address for maximum anonymity. Since you would be using the internet with a spoofed IP and location, not even the ISP would be able to track your exact country, city or street at all.
With added security and privacy features like IKS, IPv6 leak protection, DNS leak protection, WebRTC leak protection and more, you are assured guaranteed privacy at all times.
Now that you know the dangers of free WiFi hotspots, learn how you can use public WiFi securely:
Since you know now that hackers can pry into your online data through malicious hotspots, it would be wise to verify the connection before joining it. The best way to ensure that the open Wi-Fi you want to connect to is genuine or not is by asking the employee of the establishment.
Whether you are using the Wi-Fi in an airport, café or a restaurant, you can ask an employee if they host the Wi-Fi or not.
Never keep your device’s file sharing turned on, especially when you are connected to an open Wi-Fi. Unsuspecting users usually allow auto-sharing when they need to share documents, images or any other type of data with other devices. If the option is turned on, hackers can easily gain access to sensitive data.
Therefore, always make sure that file sharing is turned off before joining a Wi-Fi.
Public spots are not the places to conduct personal activities, for instance, to check private emails or conduct online transactions. When you make online transactions on open Wi-Fis, you expose your sensitive data to cybercriminals.
It is best to not use such networks for checking sensitive data unless it is essential.
Now, you might be wondering, where can I find restaurants with free WiFi hotspot near me? There are plenty of restaurant chains offering free WiFi to customers. The following are some chains offering the best and free WiFi hotspots:
Your most favorite coffee house has partnered with Google to provide free and unlimited Wi-Fi access to at their 7,000 franchises in the US alone.
Finding a Starbucks near you isn’t much of a challenge because it is available everywhere. You only need to visit the café, order their cheapest coffee, and use the free Wi-Fi hotspot for not more than $2.
McDonald’s offers free Wi-Fi access to all its 11,500+ franchises. The download speeds at McDonald’s are also twice as fast as most other national chains.
The food may not be good, but you can try out their coffee or soda while you’re using their free Wi-Fi hotspot. Check their website and restaurant locator to see if there’s a location with free Wi-Fi available near you.
Dunkin’ Donuts is incredibly popular across the globe. However, you may not be aware of the fact that it also offers free Wi-Fi at thousands of its locations.
The Scrumptious Big King XXL Meal and mouthwatering Whooper Sandwich aren’t the only specialties of Burger King. Luckily, you can also enjoy high-speed internet connectivity at Burger King, while munching your favorite meal.