You’ve probably read at least one story with warnings about using unsecure public Wi-Fi hotspots, so you know that eavesdroppers can capture information traveling over those networks. But nothing gets the point across as effectively as seeing the snooping in action. So I parked myself at my local coffee shop the other day to soak up the airwaves and see what I could see.
As you'll see, it’s relatively easy to capture sensitive communication at the vast majority of public hotspots—locations like cafes, restaurants, airports, hotels, and other public places. You can snag emails, passwords, and unencrypted instant messages, and you can hijack unsecured logins to popular websites. Fortunately, ways exist to protect your online activity while you’re out-and-about with your laptop, tablet, and other Wi-Fi gadgets. I'll touch on those, too. more
PS - The author, Eric Geier, also provides a very good "How to use Wi-Fi hotspots securely" checklist. ~Kevin