Does your cellphone plan give you a limited amount of data each month? Most service providers have different packages to choose from, offering unlimited talk and text and a certain number of gigabytes of data. The more data you use, the more expensive the plan.
One great way to save on data usage is to connect your gadget to Wi-Fi. However, you really need to be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network because many of them are dangerously insecure.
New research by security experts at Kaspersky Lab shows that around 25 percent of Wi-Fi networks around the world are not as protected as they should be. They analyzed over 31 million public Wi-Fi hotspots to compile the data.
What makes public Wi-Fi dangerous
The scariest finding in Kaspersky's research is that about 25 percent of all Wi-Fi networks use no type of encryption or password protection at all. That means that any data you send over these networks can be seen by everyone. You should never connect to one of these networks.
Even the networks that are considered secure could have problems. The most secure networks use Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). It's a security protocol that is used by nearly 75 percent of networks around the world.
Some hotspots that use WPA make the mistake of giving their passwords away to everyone. For example, businesses will sometimes post their passwords in public view so customers can easily access it. That means anyone who logs onto the network can decrypt data being transferred over it.
How to safely use public Wi-Fi
Kaspersky Lab antivirus expert Denis Legezo said, "We advise all users to remain vigilant when connecting to Wi-Fi. Don't use hotspots without passwords and don't use public hotspots to perform high-risk activities such as online banking or shopping, logging on to sites or for transferring confidential information. If that sort of traffic is intercepted by a third party, it could result in serious losses, including financial ones. And of course, we strongly recommend using additional measures to protect traffic, such as VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology."
Listen below to our segment of 'Tech Gumbo' which touches on the dangers associated with the use of public Wi-Fi.