Free Wi-Fi at public places: Pros and Cons

Free Wi-Fi at public places: Pros and Cons


The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated 24 Hot Spots with 30 Wi-Fi access points in the President's Estate making it 100 % Wi-Fi. The smart city dream is making everyone enthusiastic but we are yet to realize the potential threat of having free Wi-Fi at public places. Some researches at Bangalore airport have shown that free Wi-Fi invites hackers and other cyber crime crooks to invade security of people connected to the hotspot. 2500 cities and towns in India were to receive free Wi-Fi according to the promises made by the government. While the government is at it, some researchers have concluded that security is at higher threat with free Wi-Fi at public places. We wouldn't want to compromise with the security of our device which is most likely to contain confidential data which at wrong hands can spell havoc, and that too for a few bucks worth free Wi-Fi. But once you spot an open Wi-Fi, it is absolutely instinctive to instantly get your device connected.


1. Not everyone can afford 3G and 4G connectivity with net neutrality a lost cause in India. Free Wi-Fi would mean good savings of the common people and even those who need an internet connection but could not afford it would benefit greatly from it.

2. Students and youth can benefit largely from free public Wi-Fi. They can easily refer to e-books and online learning methods while on the go. With distance learning becoming popular in India, cost of data has always posed a problem. Broadband compromises speed and 3G/4G is priced beyond affordability.

3. One look at the internet tariff plans of private telecoms and you know you have to limit your data usage to the least if speed is desired too. Downloading data and browsing internet has to be restricted to only a few MBs with good speed.

4. In emergency situations free Wi-Fi can work wonders. Earthquake in Nepal and adjoining areas of India recently left people short of communication measures to check on near and dear ones. While mobile phone and internet connectivity was a lost cause for hours in some and days altogether in many areas, it was a long spell of apprehensions for people trying to get in touch with their loved ones.

5. Internet has opened various ways in which people can develop their skills and businesses. Easy and free access is important for the middle and lower class to benefit from the wonders of internet.

6. Security tools and measures can be implemented to keep users protected from threats of hacking and cyber crimes. An expert team into safety measures can solve the problem and people can stay alert by not connecting to any other free Wi-Fi that does not call for SMS verification.


1. Crores would be spent on building of infrastructures and further in managing the cost of free Wi-Fi to the entire city or town. A larger part of the annual budget would be spent in this project and as the trend in India goes, there would be more scams from the executives involved.

2. Lot of people using free public Wi-Fi would eventually result in slowing down of data speed or limiting the data usage per device in a day or month. Where is the advantage in accessing free Wi-Fi when the speed is down to 2G?

3. A report by Economic Times said that a researcher at Bengaluru airport was able to hack into the devices of all users who had connects to the free Wi-Fi with a mere $100 device. Imagine the security threat when the entire city goes on to connect to the free Wi-Fi. Hackers can easily get access to "users' WhatsApp conversations, credit card numbers and encrypted user names and passwords for good measure."

4. Sharing confidential data over the internet would become risky as they can easily be subject to cyber crimes. Mobile banking is being used by most internet users and they can unknowingly become victims to hackers accessing their accounts.

5. Even if measures are taken to keep public Wi-Fi secure, hackers can create fake hotspot with the help of Wi-Fi pineapple, a portable router device. Unsuspecting users will become easy targets to cyber crime. Corporate espionage and stealing of data can result in huge losses.

6. In the words of Sajan Paul, director-systems engineering, India & SAARC at Juniper Networks, public Wi-Fi is raw internet: "At an average end-user level, it is very difficult to detect such scenarios. However, one must understand that anything that goes into the Internet is subject to snooping and other forms of attacks. The user should be vigilant while accessing and sending sensitive data over such mediums."


The government should consider that there are definite cons of providing free Wi-Fi in cities and measures should be taken to provide complete security over public Wi-Fi. No loopholes should be left from wherein snooping could be possible. Awareness should be created especially in not so developed towns about ways to ensure security and confidentiality. Speed regulation should also be kept in mind before taking the major step. With these precautionary measures well implemented, India can benefit largely from free Wi-Fi in cities.
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  • RE: Free Wi-Fi at public places: Pros and Cons -PRIYA JOSHI (06/07/15)
  • Good morning everyone

    According to me giving free Wi-Fi at public places is a very innovative as well as fascinating idea. It will give chance to use internet to those people who are unaware or can't afford to access internet at this time of modernization and digitization. It will not only allow small and medium enterpenuer to explore themselves in a very wide mode of communication but also allow the economy to grow at fast pace.
    But as everything has its good as well as bad effects, due to free Wi-Fi facility at public places, hackers will get the chance to hack large amount of data as they will be getting loads of data to hack at public places. There are chances of other cyber crimes including hacking like pishing etc.
    So, government should provide Wi-Fi at public places but after establishing well regulated and proper watchdog system against cyber crime so that people don't able to misuse it.
  • RE: Free Wi-Fi at public places: Pros and Cons -Deepa Kaushik (06/06/15)
  • It is a fascinating idea of free Wi-Fi at public places. But a deep insight to this matter arises many queries. Firstly, we need to think of the requirement of having Wi-Fi at public places. When we think of evolving our nation at the International standards, we should rectify the problems at the grass-root level at first place. We don't have the basic amenities and the law and order conditions of international standards. If at all we want to create a place for ourselves on the universal front, we should stitch and repair our soul concerns which create an ever-lasting hassle and hindrance in the implementation of plans.

    We are at a situation where we are unable to curb the existing corruption and get the law and order situation on track. How can we assure to limit the allocated funds in the implementation of the Wi-Fi zone across the city without the involvement of corrupt officials? All we need is transparency and safety, all the luxury standards canbe modified and beautified later. People desire sophistication,but their prime requirement remains a calm and safe place to reside.

    All these things revolve around 3 words viz. essential, desired and preference. Saferty and security is mandatory. We are unableto cease the cyber threat and problems ofhacking with the existing so-called secured Internet zones; how can we assure secure and transparent usage of Internet through Wi-Fi at public places?

    Security is a big threat through Wi-Fi at public places. we can drag the whole city to the vicious threat of cyber crime. Hence, in the present scenario of our country,it would be better to post-pone the idea opf Wi-Fi at public places.