Making use of Wi-Fi networks is always convenient because of its accessibility whenever it’s needed. But at some point, you might feel so concerned if the owner of the network can access your activities like banking, watching videos and even reading your emails. Well, if you must know, Yes, the owner can have access to your activities on the web. In this write-up, we’ll give the answers to this question and how it affects your online activities so you’ll be aware and better position yourself so you don’t become a victim of online crime.
What the Wi-Fi Owner can see?
When you log in to a wireless network, below are some possible information the owner can access. Here’s a list;
- The name and URL of all website you accessed.
- Companies addresses displaying different ads to you.
- Contents downloaded from each web page visited especially if they’re HTTP websites.
- The duration spent online and on each webpage.
- At what point you connected to the web.
- All calls made via the internet, including text messages.
- Message contents, especially if it’s on unencrypted messaging platforms.
- The apps you use and when they were used.
The medium through which WI-FI owner can see websites you visited
It’s either your Wi-Fi network is directly operated by an internet service provider, or there might be a network admin that can view your history. These are the two scenarios. You need to understand that different categories and structures of network protocols are available in today’s technology market. This will enable you to have a better understanding of how a Wi-Fi owner gets to access your browsing history.
Network in schools or Offices – Because of the number of users in school or office environment, they tend to set up their servers for proper management of their network. If these servers in your office or school have a network administrator obviously, he/she can have access to your activities. This is because they’re capable of seeing all the traffic that passes through the network just by logging in to the admin panel.
Networks in public areas – You may not be aware that the majority of public places such as parks or even restaurants have an assigned network administrator that manages the network. Hence, they can view your browsing history by merely logging in to the panel where they can also control the bandwidth that passes through the network.
Networks at home – Most internet service providers do not grant admin control because the consumer-based network does not often need it. In this case, the owner who set up the Wi-Fi will not be able to see your browsing history. This means that most domestic routes are not manufactured to monitor any website traffic that passes through a network. Nevertheless, the original internet service provider can still view the website traffic on a specific connection. The only way the ISP can’t access your browsing history is when you use a VPN that will mask your IP.
Using a VPN to Protect Your Privacy
By using a VPN, you can block any Wi-Fi admin from monitoring your activities online. For those that don’t know any VPN to use, you can make use online services that will be able to hide your internet traffic as well as your IP address. This happens because a VPN establishes a tunnel that is encrypted between your device and the server too. This tunnel is blocked, and no one can access the traffic. The good thing about using VPN is that your privacy will be protected when you even make use of unsecured Wi-Fi networks or mistakenly connect to a fake Wi-Fi hotspot. Despite all these, endeavour to use an excellent antimalware or antivirus to protect yourself too.
At most, the network admin will only see the following;
- The IP address of the server.
- The duration you’ve used the VPN.
- The number of data sent and received.
- DNS Leaks Can be interrupted, though.
In a situation where you mistakenly pick a VPN from an unreliable source, there is every tendency you’ll deal with DNS leaks. Here your DNS queries will leak out of the tunnel which gives the Wi-Fi admin access to view your browsing history even with a VPN. So ensure you first test the VPN before usage. Most importantly, it’s better to choose a VPN that has built-in DNS leak protection.
The long story is that yes, the Wi-Fi owner can have access to your activities online, especially if the website is HTTP or even HTTPS websites. And so will any individual who scouts on your Wi-Fi traffic – such as hackers. Fortunately, this can be avoided by using a VPN to encrypt all your traffic, which will, in turn, make it 100% surveillance-proof.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the meaning of Incognito mode?
This is an inbuilt feature in most browsers that enables you to browse the web without saving any logs. It means that when incognito mode is enabled, cookies, histories, passwords, auto-fill data, emails won’t be saved as you surf the web.
Will using Incognito Mode prevent Wi-Fi Admins my internet Traffic?
No, it won’t. Incognito mode is just designed to hide your online activities from anybody that makes use of the same device as you. In other words, it automatically erases all browsing history once you exist the web because it does not keep cookies. So with incognito mode network admins, ISP, and even hackers can still have access to your online activities.
Can any individual making use of my Wi-Fi see my browsing history?
It depends on the situation. If you’re not under any attack, then the other users on your LAN won’t have access to your traffic, but your internet service provider can even with your traffic encrypted. Though the ISP can’t have access to what you’re doing with unencrypted information, they can gain knowledge about your browsing activity and internet traffic. This can be enough for your ISP to know the majority of the domains you visit
Furthermore, your internet service provider to analyze your traffic patterns even if it is encrypted, he can get useful information. Those kinds of attacks are referred to as side-channel attacks.