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Why You Should Stop Using Free Wi-Fi in Singapore Forever

2nd September 2021

Maybe it’s just us talking, but we definitely get a sense of evil satisfaction whenever we mooch off all the free Wi-Fi in Singapore. It’s like we’ve gamed the system, cackling with laughter as we browse ALL the memes. We didn’t even buy a coffee from them! #winning 

Singapore is literally covered with public Wi-Fi networks offering their sweet, sweet internet connections – free of charge. We all love free things, don’t we? But once we discovered the shocking risks of using free Wi-Fi, we’ve sworn off it for good. Here’s why you should too. 🤔

The hidden dangers of free Wi-Fi

A talented hacker can sneak into just about any network with the right time and resources, but infiltrating Wi-Fi that’s free is like stealing candy from a baby. 🍭 👀

On public networks, it’s easy for hackers to intercept information you send and receive. Account passwords? Thanks very much. Credit card number? Jackpot. 🤑

The risks include: 

  • Information theft
  • Credit card fraud
  • Cyber attacks on your workplace
  • Session hijacking
  • Installing malware

How to protect yourself from free Wi-Fi hackers

Start using a VPN 

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the bread and butter of digital privacy. Installing a VPN on your phone, tablet or laptop encrypts all the data moving to and from that device. It also hides your IP address, a unique number assigned to your device that hackers can use to get up to all sorts of mischief. 😈

Though there are some genuine free VPNs, many of them are dodgy, so it’s worth playing it safe by investing in a paid VPN. 

Choose password-protected Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi that connects without a password is the most vulnerable type of network. Passwords aren’t foolproof since they’re often printed on the back of a menu or scrawled on the wall in chalk, but it’s an extra layer of protection that makes Wi-Fi hotspots harder for hackers to hack (try saying that ten times fast 😖). 

Aim for networks you recognise

If you’re truly desperate and simply NEED to connect to free Wi-Fi, trust your gut. Brands or places you recognise like a Starbucks or the Changi Airport official Wi-Fi are more reliable than that mystery “Free Guest Wi-Fi” or “St4rbucks” network you found on the street. Most reputable networks will send you to an activation page or terms and conditions before you get connected. No Wi-Fi is fully secure, but you’re more likely to walk away unscathed. 

Avoid sharing files and personal info

You should always be careful with the information you share when connected to free Wi-Fi. When you do things online like upload a scan of your passport or enter your credit card number, hackers can intercept it. It’s a good idea to avoid banking, sharing files or logging in to anything when you’re on these Wi-Fi networks.

Connect to HTTPS websites

Most websites are expected to have their own basic level of encryption to protect you from hackers, and it’s easy to check. When you load a web page, look in the address bar to see if there’s a lock symbol with HTTPS before the URL. If it just says HTTP (and no lock), steer clear to protect yourself from snoopers. 

Use your own mobile hotspot with a password

Avoiding free Wi-Fi altogether is one of the BEST ways to avoid the risks. Using a mobile hotspot on the go means you have a private connection that’s more secure than public networks, as long as you always use a strong password. 🔒

Your usual mobile plan might be fine for occasional tethering, but a cheap data-only plan on a second line is unbeatable if you need a regular mobile hotspot or portable Wi-Fi with a fast, secure connection. As an added bonus, phone plans and data only plans in Singapore are often faster than free Wi-Fi, and when true 5G rolls around? It’s not even a contest.

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