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Nothing comes for free – does it?

14th January

Nothing comes for free – does it?

Picture yourself sitting in an airport. You’ve done your duty-free shopping, grabbed some food and you still have 30 minutes to kill before boarding. What do you do to pass the time? Guaranteed most people reach for their smartphone or tablet and connect to the Internet to check emails, browse the news, catch up on Facebook, or check the temperature at their destination. All possible because of the free Wi-Fi hotspot they’re sat in.

There are now tens of millions of free or paid-for Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. They’re wonderfully  convenient and easy to access. Bang, you connect and send, and are off on your way. What you may not know is that free Wi-Fi can come with a price: your login credentials and network traffic being sniffed and captured before sending them along to the real Wi-Fi hotspot, and your information stolen en route, undetected. It’s the worst possible scenario, and may never occur, but just in case there are a few key things to look out for:

  • Watch out for hotspots with a name you don’t recognise or one that closely resembles the name of the official one
  • Be especially wary of “unsecured” hotspots, ones where you don’t need to enter a password to gain access
  • Don’t access sensitive data, like your bank balance, from an open Wi-Fi hotspot. That includes inputting your card details to buy from a website
  • Be extra vigilant. If something appears to look different from the norm, turn off the Wi-Fi straight away