25 Scariest Things You Didn’t Know About Using Public Wi-Fi

Posted by , Updated on March 3, 2014

You wouldn’t go into Walmart and start shouting all of your bank passwords to everybody would you? Well, unless you take preventative measures, whenever you connect to the internet via a public wi-fi hotspot you are basically doing just that. Read on to find out the 25 scariest things you didn’t know about using public wi-fi.

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25

Most of the internet is far from secure. As we've seen with recent NSA scandals, even the most encrypted messages can be read by the right people

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By using a free downloadable app on their mobile phone, a hacker on the same wi-fi network as you could login into your personal accounts

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This would include Facebook and your email

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Although SSL (https) offers encryption, it isn't guaranteed to be secure

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Anybody could intercept the communications between you and the server and perform a "man in the middle" attack by impersonating you

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20

This would allow them to empty your bank account even though you are connected via SSL (and it has the little lock in the corner)

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19

Everyone on the same public wi-fi network can see your passwords unless the connection is SSL (https)

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18

Even with an SSL connection, many times only the login page is secure and the rest of the site isn't. This means a hacker can steal your session cookies and drain your account anyway

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17

Setting up a wi-fi network and calling it "free public wi-fi" is trivial. Be careful what you are connecting to. Rogue access points are a real problem

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Depending on how security conscious you are, if you accidentally connect to a fraudulent network they hacker may be able to access files on your computer

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They can even listen in on your Skype calls

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1 terabyte of data stolen everyday, that's the same as 1 billion people have login credential stolen

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370 million accounts are leaked globally every year

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12

Most passwords can be easily hacked with a simple dictionary attack

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11

Email is sort of like a skeleton key to the rest of your accounts (this is usually where you reset your passwords)

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As we said before, reading your email over public wi-fi is trivial for a hacker

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And just because you're using SSL doesn't mean your email itself is encrypted. A man in the middle could still read it

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If you're using an email client like Outlook on public wi-fi it's even harder to enable ensure encryption. Look into it

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7

Never connect to unverified wi-fi networks in the airport and certainly don't do anything more than browse the news

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If you do, you'll be on an airplane for the next few hours, and the hacker knows that

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If at all possible use password protected wi-fi like WPA2

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Make sure your antivirus software is up to date

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Check your firewall. On public wi-fi it may come in handy

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Some free software like TOR can help anonymize your browsing but it comes with it's own set of pitfalls

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The best solution to browsing the internet on public wi-fi is using a trusted VPN. This will create a secure tunnel for your data.

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