hen you turn your device’s Wi-Fi on and look at the list of available Wi-Fi networks that are around you most of them will be described as Secured, with some that are described as Open. Most often, an open Wi-Fi network is intended to be available for you to connect to; although, you may need a password to use it.
However, an open Wi-Fi network that doesn’t require a password may not be intended for you to connect to; it could be a Wi-Fi network that has been set up by an inexperienced person who doesn’t realise that they have made their Wi-Fi network available for others to use.
So, should you use a Wi-Fi network like this? There’s a complication to this question – it can be hard to tell if an unsecured Wi-Fi network that doesn’t require a password to connect is intended to be available for you to use or not. The name of the Wi-Fi network may give you a clue; for instance, if its name indicates that it comes from a public institution such as a library or a government body, or from a business, then it’s almost certainly intended for public use. But if its name is a personal name, possibly a small business name, or a random collection of alphanumeric characters, then someone has probably set their equipment up badly due to inexperience, and it’s not meant for public use.
So, should you use it? My personal feeling is that if it’s clear one way or the other, as I discussed in the previous paragraph, then you should go with it that way. If you really can’t be quite 100% certain and you can’t confirm it either way with the owner, then limit yourself to checking your email (no downloading attachments) and only using fixed websites (no YouTube type websites, download websites), and don’t synchronise Cloud drives or back up data.
Could you argue that if someone mistakenly makes a Wi-Fi network available to be connected to, then you have every right to connect to it, regardless? Only if you believe that someone leaving their keys in their car gives you the right to take it, or that someone leaving their front door open gives you the right to walk in and take their silver cutlery, or that someone leaving their wallet or bag on the table in a coffee shop give you the right to take it – and I know that you don’t believe any of those things!