When we go shopping these days, drink coffee at a cafe or eat at a fast food restaurant, there always seems to be an invitation to log onto their free wi-fi.

Sure, it seems convenient and attractive to use free wi-fi whenever you can so you are not using up your data allowance with your phone plan, but is it safe?

Here, Optimal IT, computer experts on the Gold Coast explain why you should never use public wi-fi.

Your privacy is not guaranteed

Even the free wi-fi provider can obtain information about the users of their wi-fi. They gather this information by:

  • Asking you to enter a phone number or your email address in exchange for the PIN or password to access their free wi-fi.
  • Asking you to share something on a social media platform.
  • Injecting cookies onto your browser to track your usage history.
  • Tracking your physical location.

Malicious hackers

Hackers with malintent can create a fake version of a website whilst you are using free wi-fi so they can steal your credentials.

By redirecting you to a site that looks legitimate, they steal your information when you attempt to log in with your username and password.

Never use public wi-fi to log into a website that you need to enter your credentials into like mobile banking apps.


Installing software using public wi-fi could introduce a virus into your computer. If you get a message that your browser is using outdated Adobe, this could be an attempt to redirect you to a fake Adobe website that will install a virus onto your computer instead of the real software.

If you absolutely must use public wi-fi, ensure that the web pages you visit are https encrypted where possible. You can check this by looking for https at the start of the URL address bar, or for the security padlock sign.

Be sure to log out of the free wi-fi when you have finished browsing and turn wi-fi off on your phone or computer.

Always ensure you have internet protection and anti-virus software installed on your computer.

If your computer has been hacked using public wi-fi or you want to be sure your computer has the latest internet protection and anti-virus software installed, call Optimal IT on the Gold Coast.

Optimal IT have been professionally repairing computers for PC users on the Gold Coast for over 7 years and assist you with software to keep your computer safe.

We have a no fee, no fix policy and a 3-month guarantee on all our work and unlike most computer repair and virus removal services, we also offer affordable price packages instead of the traditional hourly rate.

Call Optimal IT today on 0401 216 935 for a free no obligation quote. Our friendly technicians will come to you for any computer virus removal.