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Be aware of online threats when using public Wi-Fi hotspots

Priority Level: 
29 September 2015

Australians love their public Wi-Fi Hotspots— in the three months to 30 June 2015, almost 4.23 million Australians went online using a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

But did you know that a public Wi-Fi hotspot is not necessarily secure from potential online threats? These include:

  • Stolen identity
  • Hackers accessing your private information
  • Risks to your personal and physical safety
  • Malware being downloaded to your device
  • Your credit card, banking or log-in details being stolen.

To help you be fully informed when using these convenient services, Stay Smart Online and the Australian Communications and Media Authority have released a short practical guide and infographic, with useful tips and general information about public Wi-Fi hotspots in Australia.

For example, key tips to help protect you from online threats when using public Wi-Fi hotspots include:

  • Use password-protected hotspots
  • Check the ‘terms of use’, particularly privacy and security clauses, before using a hotspot
  • Only use secure connections
  • Turn off file sharing and location services
  • Consider using a Virtual Private Network
  • Connect to the intended Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Turn on your firewall and virus scanner

Other useful topics covered in the guide are:

  • What is a public Wi-Fi hotspot?
  • What are the major types of public Wi-Fi hotspots in Australia?
  • What types of access are offered at public Wi-Fi hotspots?
  • What can I do at a public Wi-Fi hotspot?
  • How do I find a public Wi-Fi hotspot?
  • How do I connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot?
  • How can I make a complaint about a public Wi-Fi hotspot?

More information

For more information about online threats, ways to protect yourself and other practical tips when using public Wi-Fi hotspots, view the ‘Your guide to public Wi-Fi hotspots in Australia

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.