shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Be wary of public WiFi hotspots

Page address:

By Khalid Diriye

It’s pretty uncommon today for people not to connect to any Wi-Fi single they can get for free. In fact, we expect it, we expect the fact that Wi-Fi will be present in hotels, coffee shops, and airports. However, what most people don’t understand is that since these open Wi-Fi spots are unsecured connections that hackers could easily access and steal any personal information you may be putting out during the time you are connected to these unsecure connections.

Some hackers legitimately spend their time searching for unsecured connections and one thing we should not forget about a hacker is that their goal is to compromise yours or a business’s security. McAfee a world leading security provider has put out some tips on what you should be looking out for when connecting to an unsecured connection.

Basic Connection Tips

  • Turn off Wifi. This may sound simple but many people have the auto-connect feature on their devices so when they are in the area of an open Wi-Fi signal their device will auto-connect to the closest and strongest one it can get without the user knowing themselves.
    Also when you’re not using your Wi-Fi connection on any of your devices, it’s good practice to turn it off. That way it won’t automatically connect to any Wi-Fi that is in the area. And for your mobile devices, it will help save your battery life since your mobile will not be constantly searching for an available Wi-Fi connection.


  • Connect to secure connections. Make sure that any network you connect to away from home, such as those in cafes and hotels, are secure. You can tell when a network is not secured because you will see a message when you connect saying that you are “connecting to an unsecured network.” And if you are using an unsecured network, do not shop online or access any of your personal and financial sites.


  • Use HTTPS. HTTPS, or hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) with secure sockets layer (SSL, hence the S after HTTP), Look for “HTTPS://” in the address bar to signify you are on a secure page. Even on an open, unsecured wireless connection, HTTPS is more secure than HTTP.

For more questions regarding Wi-Fi hotspots contact or call (507) 389-6654