3 Reasons to Stop Using Your Neighbor's Free WiFi
Article by George Norman
On 02 Jun 2016
I get it, and I am not going to judge. You’re using your neighbor’s WiFi because you’re short on cash at the moment, because you just moved in and you didn’t set up your router yet, or because you’re visiting your grandma, she doesn’t have WiFi, and you don’t want to use up too much mobile data.

I don’t really care why you’re using someone else’s WiFi, to be honest. What I do care about though is that you know what you’re getting yourself into. That being said, here are the top 3 reasons why you should stop using your neighbor’s WiFi – or any public, free, and unprotected WiFi for that matter.


1. Who really set up the free WiFi?

The free WiFi you’re connected to might not be your neighbor’s. Sure, some people are reckless enough to leave their WiFi unprotected, and that’s why you don’t need a password to connect to them. But sometimes cybercriminals will set up free WiFi hotspots. Why? Because they want to steal sensitive data from unwary users like yourself.

As a rule of thumb, you should never trust and you should always be wary of free, public, and unprotected WiFi. Don’t do any online shopping or online banking on public WiFi, try to access websites only on an encrypted HTTPS connection, and if possible, do all your online browsing using a VPN.

2. There's a high risk of getting infected

So you’re sure that the WiFi you’re connected to is indeed your neighbor’s. You’re not dealing with a cybercriminal here, you’re just dealing with someone who didn’t bother to password protect his WiFi. That’s great! Or is it?

It looks like this neighbor of yours doesn’t take security seriously. And it’s not too farfetched to assume that some sort of nasty infection or malware is lurking around his systems. By connecting to your neighbor’s WiFi, you’re putting yourself at risk of infection.

Let’s come back to the question of why you’re using your neighbor’s free WiFi for a second. If you’re doing it because you’re short on cash, I’m going to assume that you didn’t buy a powerful antivirus. Hope your free one is capable of keeping you safe.

3. Slow browsing or download speeds

Are pages taking too long to load? Your download isn’t going as fast you’d hoped? It’s not surprising. Who knows what your neighbor is doing, or how many people are connected to his WiFi.

The speed is divided among all the devices that are connected to the network. So if your neighbor is doing something that uses a lot of bandwidth, or if there are too many people connected to the network, you’ll just have to put up with slow browsing speeds.

Some tools that you’ll find useful

Wi-Fi Finder for Android, a free app from security company Avast, will help you find and connect to fast, reliable and secure WiFi hotspots.

Opera VPN, a fast, free and unlimited VPN app for iOS, will keep you safe while you’re browsing on a public WiFi connection. So will Avira Phantom VPN, which is available for Windows and Android.

Opera Max, a free app for Android, will help you reduce mobile data usage, in case you decided that using public WiFi is not worth the risk. Speaking about not using public WiFi, Focus by Firefox is a free content blocker for iOS that can boost page load speed, reduce mobile data usage, and block trackers.

Tags: security, WiFi, Wi-Fi
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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