Laptop with wifi signal on the display

Public Wi-Fi is a convenient way to access the internet on the go. Whether you’re at a coffee shop, airport, or library, it’s easy to connect to a nearby network and start browsing. But, while public Wi-Fi might be convenient, it also comes with a number of serious security risks. 

What security risks does a public wi-fi connection post?

Man-In-the-middle (MITM) attacks

A MITM attack is like eavesdropping on someone’s personal conversation. The occur when a hacker intercepts your connection to the internet and monitors your online activities. This can include accessing your personal information or passwords. Phishing emails are also considered to be a type of MITM attack. 

Unsecured Networks

Many public Wi-Fi networks are not secured with passwords or encryption, making it easy for hackers to access your data and use it for nefarious purposes like MITM attacks. A good practice it to check if it’s a secure network by looking for the padlock icon in your browser or the “https” in the website address. 

Rogue Access PointsLaptop with wifi signal on the display

Also called “malicious hotspots,” rogue access points are fake Wi-Fi networks that are set up by hackers to steal personal information. They often look like legitimate networks, making it easy to trick unsuspecting users into connecting to it. To avoid these, always verify the name of the network before connecting and avoid networks with generic names like “Free Public Wifi.” 


Malware is a malicious software that can damage your device or steal your personal information. Being on a public network may subject you to being a target for hackers. They can find vulnerabilities in your software or operating system and inject them with malware. 

Public Wi-Fi security tips

Public networks can be a convenient way to access the internet on the go, but it does come with significant risks to your personal security. Follow the steps below so you can surf the web safely. 

  • Avoid accessing sensitive information when on public networks
  • Use a VPN
  • Stick to “https” websites rather than “http” – these are more secure
  • Utilize browser extensions
  • Adjust your connection settings to not automatically connect to public hotspots
  • Use a privacy screen on your devices
  • Turn off file sharing
  • Use two-factor authentication
  • Keep your operating system up to date 
  • Remember to log out
  • Use antivirus software

When traveling for business or pleasure, it’s important to know that there are a number of security risks associated with public Wi-Fi. However, by following a few simple guidelines, you can protect your data and stay safe while browsing the internet.