Wi-Fi hotspots

Is Public WiFi Safe to Use With a Mobile Phone?

WiFi

Episode 1840

Paul from Columbus, OH

Paul likes to take cruises with his wife and they're going to Russia soon. He wants to know how safe public wifi is. Can his phone get hacked? Leo says that as long as you don't join wifi, you're invisible. Once you join, you could be at risk. But a cellular connection could be subject to government spying as well. So if you're worried about it, turn off your cellular radio as well. It's in the settings. But it's likely not going to be an issue for you.

Is surfing the internet on LTE secure?

4G LTE

Episode 1522

David from El Monte, CA

David wants to know if he's secure surfing the internet on his mobile device. Leo says that nothing is unhackable, but LTE is encrypted and very secure. A phone can be hacked, even at the radio level, though. It's also possible for someone to spoof his SIM card. But it's too much work for the average hacker. It would have to be a state level attack in order to accomplish it. Wi-Fi is less secure, and if he's relying on WPA2 or any other Wi-Fi connection, it's possible to hack it. But that's not easy, either. Odds are, there's really not all that much to worry about.

Should I use a VPN while on a cruise?

Tiny Hardware Firewall

Episode 1391

Charles from Sugarland, TX

Charles and his family are going on a cruise and want to know if his devices need to run through a VPN. Leo says there are some risks, but not as much on an iPad. Google has been pushing for https everywhere, meaning that his search activity is encrypted. But that's not stopping someone from using a Wi-Fi sniffer called a Pineapple or Wireshark to figure out what his access point name is. A wise thing to do would be to forget his home network before he goes. Another option is the Tiny Hardware Firewall.