Is using free WiFi really risky?

We have been advised to stay off public WiFi networks because they are inherently risky. If you care about security and privacy, don’t jump on WiFi just because you HAVE to get access to something on your laptop.

But do you listen? No!

Apparently, no one is listening. Public, free WiFi is still increasingly popping up…well, everywhere. It’s in coffee shops, airports, it is even available in municipalities around the globe because many cities are developing free, public WiFi to power their own connected, smart cities initiatives.

Just how risky is WiFi these days? As this excellent Consumer Reports article notes, most sensitive data is now sent through encrypted channels. Many of the risks with public WiFi have faded since many adults began their online lives, according to Chester Wisniewski, a principal research scientist for the British cybersecurity firm Sophos.

This article breaks down the concerns that still exist with using public WiFi, and steps you can take to stay safe (or at least a bit safer) when using a public network.

*Image source: Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

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