Be Careful to Use Wi-Fi Auto-Connect Settings!


Free Wi-Fi hotspot, provided at public facilities and restaurants when you go on a trip abroad, is very useful, isn’t it? However, did you know that use of free Wi-Fi network could be dangerous? This article discusses the dangers of free Wi-Fi network and how to avoid them.

What is Free Wi-Fi?

Free Wi-Fi means a Wi-Fi access point that can be used freely without cost, and it is also known as a public Wi-Fi or hotspot. Free Wi-Fi is operated by various places, such as public facilities, cafes, hotels, etc., and many people can easily access the internet environment with it.

The Dangers of Free Wi-Fi

As mentioned above, free Wi-Fi is a very convenient service, but be careful because using free Wi-Fi can put you at risk.

Spoofing Access Point

Some malicious people set up spoofing access point with the same name or similar name as the actual genuine free Wi-Fi network name, and they try to scam your personal information on the device through the network.

To make matters worse, your phone has a default setting that automatically connects to the access point which has been connected previously. This setting is very convenient, but if the spoofing access point uses the same network name as legitimate free Wi-Fi, your device may automatically connect to the spoofing access point.

Eavesdropping and Snooping

If your free Wi-Fi is not encrypted, your communications may be eavesdropped on or snooped on. If the internet communication is not encrypted, malicious people who connect to the same free Wi-Fi can easily retrieve the URL of the website you are browsing, your credit card history, password, email and SNS contents, etc. Furthermore, they can send a malicious computer virus to your device or they remotely control your device.

How to Protect Your Information

Now, you understand the dangers of free Wi-Fi that you use everyday, so I will explain the security measures when using free Wi-Fi.

Use Only Encrypted Free Wi-Fi

Encrypted free Wi-Fi has a key mark next to the network name. Wi-Fi encryption methods include “WPA”, “WPA2”, and “WEP”. “WEP” has a low level of security and easily decrypts communication contents, so avoid using it.

If you are using an iPhone, you will receive a warning message when you try to connect to a WEP-encrypted network. For Android phone users, the encryption format is shown under the network name.

Don’t Use Wi-Fi Auto-Connect Settings

As mentioned earlier, the smartphone has a setting that automatically connects to the network which it has previously connected. Turn off automatic connection settings to avoid connecting to spoofing access points.

Avoid Using Non-HTTPS Sites

When connecting to free Wi-Fi and using your browser, only visit sites where the URL starts with “https”. Access to a site that starts with https with which your data communication is encrypted before sending.

Use a VPN

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. This technology will prevent scammers and malicious people from eavesdropping and snooping while using free Wi-Fi.

Another article introduces VPN Gate provided by the University of Tsukuba, so you can use the service. Otherwise, you can download a specialized VPN app on your phone.


Free Wi-Fi is now available wherever you go, but it is important to take sufficient measures before using it. Protect your information and information of someone important to you.