Are Places with Free WiFi Near Me Safe?
You’ve probably noticed that the number of public WiFi networks is constantly rising. In fact, Statista projects the number of public WiFi hotspots worldwide to grow to 542 million by 2021, up from 279 million in 2018. This staggering growth is driven mostly by our insatiable desire to always stay in touch with the ones we care about as well as by our love for internet-enabled technology.
But in our hunt for WiFi internet access, we sometimes forget to pause for a moment and think about our security. After all, most people today don’t hesitate at all before they connect to a public network they’ve never encountered before and use it to transmit sensitive information, such as login names, passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.
The reality is that some places with free WiFi near meeting spots and other public venues are indeed not worthy of our trust. Even today, it’s still possible to stumble upon an unsecured WiFi network. What’s worse, some WiFi networks are rogue, which means they’ve been installed on a secure network without explicit authorization from a local network administrator, typically to steal passwords and other sensitive information from unsuspecting users.
All of this doesn’t mean that public WiFi networks are unsafe — it just means that you have to carefully pick which of them you connect to and which you avoid. The good news is that there are many useful apps for finding nearby WiFi, and we introduce five of them in the next section.