How secure is free wi fi access on trains, hotels etc

Thinking about buying a netbook to use on long train journeys etc which provide free wi fi. But how secure are the wi fi networks?

I only know a little about wi fi networks. I have wifi at home which is secured with WPA encryption. Are the free networks unsecured? For instance if I login to a webmail account can others "capture" the login details?

Thanks

6 Comments

they should be secured networks ...... only people on the train will be able to connect (using they key given (i guess thats what they do))

i wouldnt do banking etc on a public wifi but general web searching and ebay should be ok

i wouldnt use it for banking-but the hotels we have stayed in have had wired in the rooms and the connection from reception free-i felt a bit better about using that!

Original Poster

I would only use the online banking at home but if they manage you get your email details they could re-set your ebay password and possibly login to your Amazon account etc They could do a whole lot of damage.....

end of the day you can only make your laptop less of a target than others ! wpa is just to stop people accessing your network , you still have to protect your laptop regardless ! ie firewall , antivirus , antispyware etc

lets face it if a hacker wants to hack into your laptop they will ! also if it has bluetooth make sure its disabled !

If you use wireless internet at home you are just as much at risk, sureley??
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