At work, home, or in public, everyone is exposed to threats while using WiFi on their phones, tablets or computers. Fortunately, many Wi-Fi risks can be mitigated easily.
“Open” hotspots create an immediate risk of eavesdropping with few barriers, but even secured networks in public can compromise the path between you and your financial institution. Only connect to secured networks (look for the lock icon) and be suspicious of any network with even slightly misspelled names. If you regularly use Wi-Fi at public locations, using a virtual private network service (VPN) is a great idea. If you don’t need to connect to your bank right now, wait until you’re on a more trustworthy network.
Look for the Lock – Responsible websites and App providers are encrypting traffic end-to-end these days so even if you accidentally connect to an unencrypted network, your traffic could be hidden. Even then, man-in-the-middle attacks can temporarily interrupt encryption. So it’s still a good idea to look for the lock icon on your browser and pay attention to any warnings your browser offers about unsafe sites.
Protecting your own Kit – Even if you’re mostly a home Netflix user, keeping your PC and wifi router up to date are good ideas. On PCs, mobile devices and routers, update firewall software when vendor updates are available. Configure home networks with a long password (non-WEP) and check for new firmware updates regularly. Un-patched routers can be exploited across the internet exposing your home network and any devices. Wi-Fi networks without sufficient encryption can allow anyone nearby to use your network as a route to illegal materials bringing suspicion and occasionally law-enforcement knocking on your door.
Partial source: CSO / 7 Ways Hacker can Use Wi-Fi Against You