There has been a recent increase in the number of attackers using various different techniques against targets using public Wi-Fi. They range from setting up fake hotspots which have names similar to nearby restaurants and cafes to snooping on what other users are doing on legitimate public Wi-Fi connections.
It’s important to remember that public Wi-Fi, such as in coffee shops, restaurants, and airports, is open to the public. Anyone can set one up with any name, and even on legitimate public networks, anyone can connect and see what other people on the networking doing. This includes what websites you visit, what you look at on those websites, as well as the credentials you use to log in.
The best solution is to avoid using public Wi-Fi if you can. The mobile data (4g) on your phone is much more secure, even if it may be capped or limited. If you absolutely must use a public Wi-Fi connection, follow these tips.
Avoid unencrypted websites – look for the padlock symbol in your browser. This means the website is encrypted and more secure than other websites. If there’s no padlock, it’s trivial for anyone on the same network to see everything you see and type.
Use a VPN - If you have a VPN app available, ensure it is working and connected. A VPN will protect your internet traffic from anyone snooping on a public network.
Avoid sensitive websites – never do your internet banking on public Wi-Fi, even if it’s encrypted. Sensitive data should never be sent or accessed on public Wi-Fi
Look out for warning messages – many attacks over public Wi-Fi are noticed by your browser and will result in a warning message. Pay extra attention to these warnings when connected to public Wi-Fi.
HTTPS Everywhere – Many apps are available that force websites to use encryption, use these whenever you are connected to public Wi-Fi
Phone Settings – Ensure your phone is not set up to connect to Wi-Fi connections automatically.