What the wifi admin can see from your browsing history



If you are using someone's WiFi, can they see your history?

This is a tough truth: unless you direct your internet traffic through a VPN, WiFi admins can see your browsing history.

In fact, with the right tools, the WiFi provider can see your browsing history and a lot on top of that.

Dangers of not having HTTPS: //

WiFi providers can see your browsing history, every web page you have visited while connected to their WiFi network. Also, if the URL shows http: //, and the website is not using encryption, the network admin can understand all the data using a packet sniffer. This data can include personal profile data, logins, passwords, etc.

However, if the URL in your browser shows an extra "s", HTTP: //, then you are hypothetically safe. Traffic is encrypted, so WiFi admin can't view web page content, but WiFi provider can still see your browsing history and all pages you have browsed.

If You Are Using WiFi, Can Someone See Your History?

Yes, WiFi routers keep logs, and WiFi owners can see what websites you have open, so your WiFi browsing history is not hidden at all.

For example, suppose you open the web page https://fluxzy.com.

Network admins will notice that you are reading the How a VPN Works web page, but they can't see the exact page content when HTTPS is enabled. Then you enter your personal information on the HTTPS website. WiFi admin can't see it. Regardless of the website and web page, the HTTPS WiFi admin website can still see the duration of time you spent on a particular site or page.

So, can WiFi track the websites visited? The answer is a big YES.

The router keeps logs to save WiFi history; WiFi providers can check these logs and view WiFi browsing history. WiFi admins can see your browsing history and even use packet sniffers to intercept your personal data. So what if the WiFi owner can see my browsing history? A longer version of the question could be: what can happen if the WiFi owner sees my browsing history?

WiFi History View: What's Affected

Keep in mind that apart from your browsing history, the WiFi network admin (or your internet provider or anyone with the right tools, actually) can see the following details:

  1. The right time you are connected to the internet;
  2. The website you visit and its specific URL;
  3. The specific pages you open on each website;
  4. How long have you been online;
  5. How long have you been visiting the website;

Can a WiFi Provider See Your History on the Phone?

For those who also use your phone, WiFi owners can get the following:

  1. Call logs - everyone you talk to uses the internet;
  2. Text log - everyone you exchange text messages with, online;
  3. Real-time text messages - if you don't use encrypted messaging;
  4. The applications you use and how much time you spend on them;
  5. How often do you use your application?

These are enough things for cybercriminals to attack you via ransomware, phishing, or other crimes.
Enough for them to be able to steal your identity or break into your financial accounts.
And then there's the advertiser case too. They can see what items you are buying online or even items that you are interested in but not really buying. They can profile you using the data they collect and then bombard you with advertisements every time you use the internet without VPN protection.

Can the WiFi owner see what I'm looking for?

The answer is "NO" unless you are using a search engine that is out of date from the past. Today all contemporary web searches have HTTPS enabled on their sites so all data on all search engine pages is encrypted and no WiFi owner can see what you are looking for. So, if you are asking yourself whether WiFi can see what you Google, we can assure you that Google always uses HTTPS encryption and all your search history is hidden from WiFi providers.

How WiFi Can See What You Are Looking For

If you are using an older version of a website that only has an unencrypted version of HTTP and is doing a website-based search, then using all the data using a packet sniffer this data can be intercepted, and in this case, the WiFi admin can see your search history.

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