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I wonder if it is safe to use public WiFi in places where the WiFi router might not be managed by professionals and anybody is able to come and connect to the network with their own device.

There are many things that can happen when the workplace hasn't protected their Wi-Fi. For example, DNS spoofing isn't really hard.

Let me give you a real life example:

I was at the hairdresser, my dad was first so I had to wait. I brought my laptop to work a little bit. After finishing everything, I was bored so I looked up the gateway. No problem. I guess it was just something like 192.168.1.1. It asked for a username and a password so I typed admin and admin, and guess what, it worked... I could've done many, many things, but instead I reported it to the owner and explained to him how to resolve this. If I didn't report this, I could've made their cash desk crash, etc. Now I'm not an evil person so I didn't do any of that but what if someone who is an evil person has the knowledge to do something like that?

I don't know what the cause is that shops, etc. are not safe enough.

When I ask 'Is it safe to use Wi-Fi at a BYOD?', I doubt if anyone will give an informative answer. It really depends on the network itself. So actually my question is: what vulnerabilities are there when a Wi-Fi network isn't protected (good)?

marked as duplicate by Adi, Mark, Eric G, TildalWave, Lucas Kauffman Jul 27 '14 at 15:23

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  • Well, a lot of things. They could log your packets, use a malicious DNS... and so on. Paging Thomas Pornin or Tom Leek. – Eric Lagergren Jul 26 '14 at 9:04
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    Bringing YOD does not matter, this is really a question about open wireless networks. – Gurzo Jul 26 '14 at 9:16
  • @Gurzo Yes, that was just an example. – William Edwards Jul 26 '14 at 9:37
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I think there is some confusion here as to what 'BYOD' is. As far as I am aware, 'Bring Your Own Device' refers to the policies of an enterprise that allow for employees to connect to a corporate network (generally at a place of work) from their own personal devices. Many large enterprises will employ some type of MDM (mobile device management) solution in order to ensure that data is accessed in a (somewhat) secure manner from such personal devices.

A 'BYOD' is not a workplace, as you suggest. It is a policy.

As for vulnerabilities on open wireless networks, the question seems to depend a good deal on who else happens to be on that network with you, and what it is used for.

  • It really also depends on how well the WiFi routers are managed, whether authentication is in place so that you know you're not connecting to a rogue router handled by an adversary (e.g. in my uni we have eduroam, it's fairly easy to make a rogue access point, and we don't all have the correct certificate issued by the uni on our devices to protect us from those rogue APs). – Steve Dodier-Lazaro Jul 26 '14 at 13:58

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