Free Public WiFi Hotspots – Security concerns

Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

Security Concerns using Free Public WiFi Hotspots

There is nothing like a Free Public WiFi Hotspot.   You can browse the internet, update your Apps, watch a bit of Youtube without having the worry of using data on your mobile account.  Each WiFi Hotspot will have it’s terms and conditions for use.  Some will have restrictions on what can be access in regards to data usage and how long you can stay on that network.  But did you know that a Free Public WiFi Hotspot is not necessarily secure from potential online threats?

Australians love their Public WiFi Hotspots— in the three months to 30 June 2015, almost 4.23 million Australians went online using a public WiFi hotspot.

Potential online threats using Free Public WiFi Hotspots include:

  • Stolen identity
  • Hackers accessing your private information
  • Risks to your personal and physical safety
  • Malware being downloaded to your device
  • Your credit card, banking or log-in details being stolen

To help you be fully informed when using these convenient services, Stay Smart Online and the Australian Communications and Media Authority have released a short practical guide and infographic, with useful tips and general information about public WiFi hotspots in Australia.

For example, key tips to help protect you from online threats when using public WiFi hotspots include:

  • Use password-protected hotspots
  • Check the ‘terms of use’, particularly privacy and security clauses, before using a hotspot
  • Only use secure connections
  • Turn off file sharing and location services
  • Consider using a Virtual Private Network
  • Connect to the intended WiFi hotspot
  • Turn on your firewall and virus scanner

Other useful topics covered in the guide are:

  • What is a public WiFi hotspot
  • What are the major types of public WiFi hotspots in Australia?
  • What types of access are offered at public WiFi hotspots?
  • What can I do at a public WiFi hotspot?
  • How do I find a public WiFi hotspot?
  • How do I connect to a public WiFi hotspot?
  • How can I make a complaint about a public WiFi hotspot?

To connect to a WiFi hot spot make sure on your device under settings that your WiFi is switched on. Most devices will scan and pickup automatically  that there is an available WI-FI signal to make a possible connection.

To make a connection will depend on how the WiFi Hotspot is setup to be accessed. Some of the access offered at public WiFi Hotspot can be one of the following:

  • Free and open (no charge to the user and no password is required).
  • Free with conditions (no charge to the user but subject to certain terms of use).
  • Free for customers (a purchase from the provider is required before access is allowed).
  • Fee-for-service (user pays for access).

For more information about online threats, ways to protect yourself and other practical tips when using public WiFi hotspots, view 

Your guide to public Wi-Fi hotspots in Australia’

Stay Smart Online

SSO Alert Service





iTandBeyond are an SSO Partner.

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

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