Anyone that uses a mobile device frequently will be familiar with the Secured and Unsecured tags on available Wifi networks. These are also often represented by the presence or absence of a padlock icon. Essentially a secured Wifi network is a network with a password or security key attached to it, ensuring that only users that are given the password can access it. Unsecured, or Open, Wifi networks are the opposite: any user can connect to them if they so choose.
It’s easy to misunderstand how this can affect daily life. Unsecured networks are obviously dangerous, yes? Or on the flipside, if all these unsecured networks are being used by the people around all the time, then they can’t be that bad, right? As usual, the answer lies somewhere in between. To put it bluntly and far too simply, an unsecured network can be more dangerous because it’s easy for malicious users to access it, and through it the other devices that are connected to it. Yet there are many situations in which using an open network is quite safe and harmless.
This quandary has long been recognized by the industry, and there are plenty of practices that make using an open network much safer and put the idea of secured and unsecured networks in perspective.