Something you should make sure to do when using public Wi-Fi is to tell your device not to reconnect by turning off “reconnect” or selecting “forget this network”.

In most cases, you don’t want your phone to reconnect to these networks. One reason is simple: it happens in the background, so you won’t notice it right away if you’re not looking closely at the screenshots on your device. Technically speaking, the other is more complicated: When you enable reconnection, you’re broadcasting to potential attackers that your device is happy to treat a local network as good as your home network. Since devices recognize specific networks by their SSIDs (network names), malicious actors can connect to your device without you knowing it’s happening.

“Let’s say on Monday, you went to your favorite cafe and connected to its Wi-Fi network called ‘Starbucks Wi-Fi,'” NordVPN security expert Daniel Markuson explains in a 2021 Hindustan Times interview. “You know that the Internet at this cafe is usually protected, and you feel like you have nothing to worry about. But on Tuesday, a hacker can install an evil twin next to the same SSID (network name). And, when you come to get your daily coffee on Wednesday, you can’t be sure that it’s the network which your device will connect to.”

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