Have you ever used free public Wi-Fi at the airport, Starbucks, Panera Bread, or other unsecured venues?  Is it safe from hacking, identity theft, and other invasions of privacy? No!! So, why do we use it?

According to Ian Barker, writing for Beta News:

“There’s an expectation that public Wi-Fi will be available pretty much everywhere we go these days. We access it almost without thinking about it, yet public networks rarely encrypt data leaving users vulnerable.”

“A new survey of more than 2,000 business users by networking company Xirrus finds that while 91 percent of respondents don’t believe public Wi-Fi is secure, 89 percent use it anyway. The report shows that 48 percent of Wi-Fi users connect to public Wi-Fi at least three times per week and 31 percent connect to public Wi-Fi every day.”

“When on public Wi-Fi, 83 percent of users access their E-mail, whether it’s for work or personal reasons, and 43 percent access work-specific information. ‘Today, the convenience of using public Wi-Fi, for a variety of work and recreational uses, supersedes security, which puts both individuals and businesses at risk. Most businesses do not offer secure connectivity options for customers and guests.’ says Shane Buckley, CEO of Xirrus.”


Take a look at the following infographic. Still think it’s a good idea to access private information via public Wi-Fi?


14 Replies to “Public Wi-Fi: Popular, But Not Secure”

  1. I think Wi-Fi in China should be much more popular than in the U.S. Because in the U.S., service providers like T-mobile offers a high cost-efficient deal which allows users unlimited 2G and, take me myself as an example, 10G LTE every month. So sometimes, I prefer to use 4G but not Wi-Fi in the U.S unless there is no signal in that area.

  2. Actually I always use Public WiFi, especially when i use the laptop. It is convenience for us customers to use WiFi in stores. For sellers, it is an attractive way to make the customers to stay in the store and thus have more chance to spend more in the store. So I am thinking what we should do is to find a way to improve the security of public WiFi. Not to convince people not to use it.

  3. I personally believe that public Wi-Fi cannot protect our privacy well. I even assume that some providers track our browsing history and personal preferences secretly and collect them to sell the data to some survey teams for financial purposes. Still, I choose to use public Wi-Fi because that is the best way for me to connect my laptop to the internet. I think it is time to remind me to reduce using public Wi-Fi.

  4. The most interesting part of this article is the fact that Wi-Fi users knowingly using Wi-Fi even though these users fully know and understand that their information can be compromised. Personally, I use Wi-Fi in these public places, not being fully aware of the fact that this can be dangerous (even though I probably did in the back of my head), especially if you have your credit card information stored in your phone.

    What’s interesting is that in South Korea, almost everywhere you walk or enter into (restaurants, stores, cafes) have Wi-Fi capabilities and everyone I know is connected to it. I was curious to find out the preventative measures that they were taking to secure these Wi-Fi spots. I researched some reasons and it was mostly due to government planning and the Korean culture — reasons that can not be replicated in this country.

    This was an interesting article that helped me realize that I shouldn’t connect to a public Wi-Fi domain unless necessary.

  5. It amazes me that people know that it is dangerous to use public wifi but choose to anyways. Personally, I never use public wifi because I know that I have plenty of information on my phone that I wouldn’t want hacked such as my bank account and my emails. I feel people use the public wifi on their phones regardless of the risk because of data limits and they don’t want to pay an extra charge. But I really don’t think it’s worth the risk.

  6. This information is very eye opening. People should definitely think twice before they use public wifi. Personally, I never use public wifi because I don’t want any of my information being stolen, but also because public wifi doesn’t always have the best connection. For example some airlines offer wifi but I always have a hard time staying connected. Fortunately I have unlimited data so my service is always fast, secure and reliable. I understand that people view public wifi as convenient, but thats because they probably don’t know how risky it is to use.

  7. I believe that there is danger in using public wifi. However, it is almost something we cant escape these days. People are so connected through the internet that it has almost become somewhat of a necessity to use this wifi. Regardless of it being public or not, I believe that people will always find a way around it anyways. In some ways, it is almost smarter to just not put very important information accessible .

  8. As someone who works at a hotel during the summer, as well as someone who travels a lot, I have had a lot of exposure to public WIFI. Given the necessity to accomplish work, whether it is on a train, a plane or in a hotel, one sees the risk reward of getting hacked to be worth using this wifi. There are so many nasty things that can occur if a hacker obtains your personal information via a public wireless network, yet many people do not care. If my father is at a Starbucks during the work week, he will not hesitate to obtain the free wifi that is a part of the Starbucks business model. The long term consequence of a nasty hacking or identity theft is transcended by the need for the immediate to be accomplished. If one has a wireless connection at their house, it is imperative that they make the connection secured and private, so a username and password is necessary to log-in to the account. This safe and easy method will significantly reduce the identity theft or other activities that hackers may accomplish. On an average 85% of people blame themselves for any internet hacking, so utilizing private servers will help assuage this frustration.

  9. People use public wifi for the convenience. However, this article proves that it may turn out to be a bigger inconvenience than one may have anticipated. It is imperative that people learn the risks of public wifi. While I don’t think many will stop using public wifi, it should be limited in order to protect our private information.

  10. The number is really scary, but i barely use the public wifi. But i will use the hotel wifi for some cases and it scares me a lot that hackers will use that approach to steal your information. I never thought about that before. Really concerned about that.

  11. I am somebody who connects to public Wi-Fi pretty often. While I am aware of some of the risks, it is just so convenient. I have connected to airport Wi-Fi and sports venue’s Wi-Fi most recently. It is scary to think about how unsecure these networks really are. People across the world sit in Starbucks, Panera, and many other places every single day, for hours at a time, as they ignore the negative impact it could have.

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