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Solved: How safe is https on free WiFi hotspots?


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Alex Ethridge's Avatar
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04-May-2012, 12:33 AM #1
Solved: How safe is https on free WiFi hotspots?
I have never checked e-mail, done banking or even logged in on TechGuy when when on a free public WiFi connection; but, I just saw an article on CNN.com and it has me wondering about https on free public WiFi.

Is https any safer on free public WiFi than http?

My guess is that it is not.
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04-May-2012, 03:18 PM #2
Just my experience, but I would never do any financial stuff over a public wifi connection, and I would only go to sites that require https logins (such as Yahoo mail, or Hotmail).
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04-May-2012, 03:26 PM #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Ethridge View Post
I have never checked e-mail, done banking or even logged in on TechGuy when when on a free public WiFi connection; but, I just saw an article on CNN.com and it has me wondering about https on free public WiFi.

Is https any safer on free public WiFi than http?

My guess is that it is not.
Absolutely. It's encrypted. That's why you should always use it when available. I run HTTPS Everywhere in Firefox.
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04-May-2012, 03:51 PM #4
Just to echo was DoubleHelix said:

Yes, HTTPS is definitely safer than HTTP.
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04-May-2012, 10:35 PM #5
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Absolutely
So then, you are saying https is safe for banking even on free public WiFi, like at McDonalds Hamburgers?

Pardon me if I seem to be asking again what you just wrote; but, I just want to be absolutely sure as I have never risked logging in on even a public forum (even here) as I was afraid some thief/hacker might be monitoring/recording every keystroke.
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04-May-2012, 10:44 PM #6
I wouldn't suggest doing banking and whatnot on any network that isn't yours. You're never going to be 100% safe.

If you have no other choice, then yes, do it on HTTPS on a public network. If you have a choice, wait until you're home then do it on HTTPS there.
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04-May-2012, 11:40 PM #7
It's a matter of managing risk. For some reason, I don't fully understand, people falsely see an insanely high risk level in doing their banking on a computer.
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05-May-2012, 01:17 AM #8
The risk, such as it is, certainly doesn't come from an HTTPS connection. No one is going to get your data through that encrypted link no matter where you connect. If your connection ran straight through their machine first, they still couldn't get anything.

The danger comes before you get to HTTPS. Some sites use an HTTP link for sign-on and then switch to HTTPS for the session. Banks usually do not (if yours does, switch banks fast) and even sign-in is encrypted. But for sites that ask you for your credentials from an ordinary HTTP session, they can be zapped away almost instantly from anyone nearby with a common public Firefox extension.
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05-May-2012, 01:23 AM #9
Thanks all for your comments. I have a better understanding now.
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06-May-2012, 10:00 AM #10
You're welcome.
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