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Risks of Using Public WiFi

This Is How Much You Put at Risk Using Public WiFi

Can't wait more than a few minutes before asking for the WiFi login when you enter a new restaurant or store? Two-thirds of the United Arab Emirates have the same addiction to staying connected too. But you could be risking it all when logging into an unsecured network and still, 44 per cent of people have no idea how to tell if it's a safe area or total no-go. In fact, a huge 95 percent of people in the country admit that they've behaved irresponsibly on WiFi hotspots, possibly sharing email and even online banking information.

The findings came from a huge survey done by Norton, who asked 15,000 people in 15 countries (including 1,000 in the UAE) questions that indicated potential dangers. A third of those taking part admitted accessing a network without the owner's permission. Either by guessing or hacking the password.

In fact, the country is so serious about WiFi that it's a deciding factor when choosing a holiday rental or hotel (81 percent), a transportation hub (59 percent), a place to eat or drink (58 percent), or which airline to fly (57 percent).

While half site the need to be contacted if necessary as the reason for connecting, 39 percent simply want to avoid using their own data allowance.

With one in ten people allowing access to their social media accounts in exchange for free WiFi, once in 27 percent have checked their bank account, and 24 percent have shared credit card details over the network.

When it comes to using public WiFi, it's best to avoid doing anything that involves using passwords, or access to personal things like photos. For that reason you should disable sharing on your devices and make sure to verify legitimate networks (watch out for generic names such as "Free WiFi".

If a website has "https" with a lock symbol in the URL, it's a good sign that it's secure, however, the website may be secure but the network connection and your personal information may not be.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sarah Lipoff
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