Social networking, catching up on emails and checking your bank account has never been easier when you’re on the go with Wi-Fi spots available in most cafés, gyms and hotels.

But how secure is that public Wi-Fi?

If you’re doing anything private online such as banking, paying for something, logging into a shopping site or confidential email – our advice is not to do it when connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot. This is because you have no guarantee that the connection is secure, so there’s a chance that it could be eavesdropped on or hijacked by a criminal, eager to defraud you or steal your identity … or both. This could be done by somebody snooping on the café, pub or hotel’s genuine but unsecured Wi-Fi … or setting up a fake hotspot on their laptop and fooling you to log in to it.

This may sound like the stuff of a spy thriller, but it’s happening to people every day, across the UK.

Watch this short video to see how easy it is for someone to access your personal information.

It’s Always Personal Film from Get Safe Online on Vimeo.

Protect yourself when using public Wi-Fi with these top tips:

• Don’t use the public Wi-Fi provided in places such as cafés, pubs and hotel rooms if doing anything confidential online, including logging into online accounts.

• Remember that just being given an access code or being asked for your email address, doesn’t indicate that the Wi-Fi connection is secure.

• Instead of using premises’ hotspots, use a mobile broadband dongle that is set to secure, your 3G or 4G data connection – even if it’s slower – or wait until you can access a router you know to be secure.

• Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to connect when accessing your company network.

• Ensure your home and office wireless networks are secured.

• It’s OK to use public Wi-Fi hotspots for things that you don’t have to log into or aren’t confidential, like checking the news or planning (but not booking) your next holiday.

For more information, visit

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