Risk Associated with public Wi-Fi

Pubic Wi-Fi is more dangerous in the early times and now it has included solutions to the risks of Wi-Fi. In the modern world, Wi-Fi is installed in every place to make people have easier access to the internet. Even though it provides the usage of the internet without any password, it is also possible that the devices that are connected to public Wi-Fi will face cyber attacks. Some examples of public Wi-Fi are set up in airports, Railway stations, Restaurants, and public libraries.

Public Wi-Fi

The websites have a separate encryption technique to prevent cyber attacks and so it is safer to access but is less secure than the private network. Compared to the advantage, there are some disadvantages faced by using public networks.

Types of Public Wi-Fi

There are primarily two types of public Wi-Fi namely −

  • Secured Public Wi-Fi network.

  • Unsecured Public Wi-Fi network.

Secured Public Wi-Fi Network

It provides a secure mode of connection, but not completely. To have secured public Wi-Fi, when connected to public Wi-Fi do not click on any popup that you have not seen before or websites that are known to you.

We can also connect to the network that you have already signed up which produced safer access. The user must read the given terms and conditions to connect to the network.

Unsecured Public Wi-Fi network

The issue you face when connected to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network is that at the time of login itself, you will be asked to enter too much personal data like Email Id and phone number. So, it is a sign that the network is not secured.

Risks Associated with Public Wi-Fi

The mobile phone is connected to public Wi-Fi via Hotspot to access the network. The Cyber threat that is mostly faced is the Man in middle Attack. The Hacker places himself between the user and the connection point. They spread the malware or virus inside the device connected to the Wi-Fi. Some of the risks associated with public Wi-Fi are −

Keep Wi-Fi off when it is not in use

The best advice is to keep the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options off when you are using some offline application. When the Wi-Fi option is turned on, it gets easily connected to the public network without intimation. It keeps the device secured and also the battery life is improved. The hardware structure of the Wi-Fi is designed to transmit data even in offline mode.

Utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

When an Employee wants to connect to the official portal, they must use the VPN to connect in case of an unsecured network. The VPN uses a tunnel to share or retrieve data and it does not any cyber attacks to take place. The data which is stolen will not be available for hackers and they generally don’t involve in the decryption process. It secures both the IP (Internet Protocol) address and the access points of the network. All the data in the VPN network are encrypted and are not displayed to hackers.

Features of VPN

Some of the primary features of VPN are −

  • Two factors Authentication − It checks for every login to the system and blocks the system that seems to be not safe.

  • Kill Switch − If any sudden interruption occurs then the secured system is also interrupted and the access is stopped.

SSL (Socket Secure Layer) Connection

The request is sent from the client side to the receiver side using a random encryption key without the help of certain certifications. For a secured transmission, turn on the “Always use HTTPS” option on the websites that are most frequently used for entering the login credentials.

The data is sent based on the authentication and the certificate is shared only when both the server and client request is accepted.

Turn off Sharing

When the laptop or tab is connected to the public Wi-Fi network, we need to turn the sharing option in the control panel to avoid data sharing between the device and the network.

Install Antivirus

When the system should have the updated Antivirus installed. When the user connects to any public Wi-Fi, in the back end it runs the antivirus software and reminds the user when any dangerous website or network is used. It checks for malware or virus that enters the system.

Packet sniffing

It is a process of listening to the stranger’s conversation and is also called Eavesdropping. The data which is got from the user is used for an illegal purpose or sell them in the black market.

Enable Firewall

The Firewall always needs to be enabled to check for the data flow from entering the device until it enters out of the network. It is easily available as a preinstalled application in the Windows operating system that acts as a shield to protect the system.


Knowing the risks associated with the public Wi-Fi network, we can have a secure way of data transmission in the network. As people wish to connect to public Wi-Fi easily, they are not aware of the issues. Some of the other risks available in the network are identifying theft, Malware infection, and Rogue Wi-Fi network.

Updated on: 03-May-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started