What Are The Signs That Your Security Might Be In Danger At A Wi-Fi Hot Spot?

Recently, the company named Starbucks; a very popular coffee shop in the United States and other countries, has recently announced that they will start to offer free Wi-Fi network availability at their restaurants.

In my opinion, this will attract the attention of many people, both with good and bad intentions.


While people love to be able to go to a place that has free Wi-Fi, they must also understand the risks that are involved with such a place.

People are not careful when it comes to their network security and so I will give you several things to look out for when you are at a place such as this.

How Regulated Are The Networks?

Not all free Wi-Fi is the same.

Some companies that offer free Wi-Fi will take the time to try to secure the network as best they can.

They will have special software that will comb the network and look for software that is listening in on packets.

They will also train the people who work there on how the look at the people who are there and see if they are doing anything wrong.

If the free Wi-Fi provider is a company that does things such as this then you can feel a little bit better while you are surfing the web there but you still must have your guard up.

Look At The Cars That Are Across The Street

As I mentioned earlier in the article, there are some programs out there that will sniff the packets that you put out there with your internet connection.

The people who use a program such as this on a public Wi-Fi network are downloading the data so that they can sniff through it later.

Most of the time the person doing this will not be in the exact same location as you because they want to use a good antenna and an antennae of that caliber would be too noticeable if it was near you.

So they will sit in their cars and point the antennae out of the window and try to pick up as much information as they can.

This is how several credit card scams have been pulled off with techniques just like this.

So, before you go to use the Wi-Fi network, check the surrounding areas.

Make sure that there are no cars that are acting suspiciously.

People Who Walk By You

When you are on a public network there are going to be people walking by you all of the time so you do not want to be too paranoid when it comes to this but there are certain people who will try to look over your shoulder and see your personal information.

If a person is looking at your computer then switch the browser tab to something simple like Google.

This way they might get the hint and if they are up to something then they know that you are on to them.

Whenever you use a public network you always have to worry about your security.

For the most part they are safe but always look at your surroundings.

If something seems off then you should not use it.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Sit where no one can walk behind you – back to the wall – and never ever walk away from your laptop no matter what even its just a few feet.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pahon Bogdan-Andrei, Mourad Ben Lakhoua. Mourad Ben Lakhoua said: ppl R not careful when it comes 2 their network security http://bit.ly/dmrI9F (via @Security_FAQs) […]

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