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When It Comes to Free WiFi, You Might Be Paying More Than You Think

Free WiFi: What Are The Hidden
Mandatory Credit: Photo by FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA/REX/Shutterstock (8811828q) Visitors use their mobile phones on a free wifi point during the 'Re:publica' digital conference in Berlin, Germany, 09 May 2017. Re:publica is one of the largest conferences about digital culture, blogs, social media and information society in the world. It takes place annually in Berlin. Re:publica digital conference in Berlin, Germany - 09 May 2017
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* 70% of all cyber attacks reportedly go unnoticed
* New report suggests public WiFi hotspots pose higher security risk
* WiFi found in coffee shops are said to be the most dangerous

Gone are the days of paying for internet access in public spaces. Before, in order to use a public WiFi network, a customer would first have to make a purchase or ask for the secure password. Now, however, more businesses are offering free hotspots, meaning anyone within walking distance can log in and enjoy. While this makes it easier to stay connected, it unintentionally leaves users open to cyber attacks.

According to a new report, free WiFi networks in cafes and airports are rife with privacy risks. “Wherever there is an unsecured public WiFi network, there is the threat of attack,” the report claims. “However, coffee shops are seen as the most dangerous public WiFi venue of all.”

Experts suggest there are nearly 80-90 million cyber-security events a year. What’s worse, up to 70% of these attacks tend to go unnoticed. That means you could have your information stolen on a public network and not even know it.

As more people are now starting to work remotely, it’s never been more important to secure your connections. Transferring private data on public hotspots like names, emails and banking information is bad enough, but when people start conducting potentially sensitive business transactions at their local coffee shop, things become intricately more dangerous.

Users should make an effort not to open, save or share sensitive information on public networks. Banking transactions, in particular, should be avoided. Additionally, VPNs, or virtual private networks, are other useful tools people can use.