You’re all packed up and ready to start your vacation.
Of course, you’ve packed your handy Chromecast to use on the hotel TV. After all, all you need to use a Chromecast is an HDMI port, power supply, Wi-Fi connection, and your phone.
But with all this talk of cyber security and the risks of public Wi-Fi, you worry about connecting your Chromecast to hotel Wi-Fi.
Can you connect your Chromecast to public Wi-Fi? And if you can, should you?
What are other ways to connect your Chromecast to the internet when away from home without using public Wi-Fi?
Keep reading to find out!
- Can I Connect My Chromecast to Public Wi-Fi?
- Should I Connect My Chromecast to a Public Wi-Fi?
- What Are Other Ways I Can Connect My Chromecast to the Internet Without Using a Public Wi-Fi Network?
- Wrapping Things Up
Can I Connect My Chromecast to Public Wi-Fi?
Yes, you can connect your Chromecast to public Wi-Fi.
It’s completely possible to connect your Chromecast to public Wi-Fi. In fact, you can connect your Chromecast to any Wi-Fi network.
This allows you to take your Chromecast with you everywhere you go since any Wi-Fi network will allow you to instantly connect your phone to your TV and cast all the streaming apps you know and love.
Should I Connect My Chromecast to a Public Wi-Fi?
No, you should not connect your Chromecast to public Wi-Fi.
Although you can connect your Chromecast to a public Wi-Fi network, we strongly advise against it.
For starters, you could connect to a fake access point.
While hackers can access your Chromecast via a public Wi-Fi network, it’s easier for them to take control of your device by setting up their own Wi-Fi network.
This Wi-Fi network is often disguised to look like your hotel’s Wi-Fi as it is very similarly named to the legit network. It also does not require a password, so unsuspecting users are more likely to click on it.
You may think you’d know the difference between the legit network and the fake one, but their names can be eerily similar.
For instance, if you’re staying at the Holiday Inn, the Wi-Fi network may be named “Holiday Inn Wi-Fi”. The hackers will then name their network “Holiday Inn WiFi” or add the city name after it to make it seem more legit.
Once you’ve connected to this network, the hackers will be able to instantly access your Chromecast and any device connected to it.
If you must connect to a public network, the best way to avoid this is to ask and carefully study the place’s public Wi-Fi name. Look for little details like dashes, spaces, and spelling to ensure you don’t accidentally connect to a fake access point.
Connecting your Chromecast, smartphone, computer, or any other capable device to a public Wi-Fi network (legit or otherwise) immediately makes you vulnerable to several different kinds of attacks.
While some of these attacks are harmless (though at times extremely disturbing) pranks, others can be much more serious and result in enormous financial and social consequences.
Your Credit Card Information Could Be Stolen
The biggest, and most catastrophic, risk connecting to a public Wi-Fi network poses is that your credit card information could be stolen.
Your streaming apps contain more information than just which episode of Stranger Things you’re on.
They also contain your payment information, which could be stolen and used by hackers. In some cases, this information could even be sold on the dark web.
So, if you’ve just gotten back from vacation and have received a phone call from your bank notifying you of suspicious charges on your card in another country, your card details have probably been stolen.
Depending on where you live and which bank you use, you may be forced to entirely shut down your account and open a new one.
Hackers Could Steal Your Personal Information
Hackers can act as a “middleman” between your device and the public Wi-Fi router.
This allows them to see everything you do on your Chromecast. While you may not care who sees what you’re watching on Amazon Prime, the information hackers are looking for is much more consequential.
If you’re mirroring your phone’s screen to your TV, the hacker will be able to see your conversations, hear your phone calls, and see the videos you’re sharing.
So, if you’re discussing your job’s latest (and confidential!) project, hackers could use the secret information discussed to target you or your company.
The same can be said if you’re having a private or intimate conversation with a friend or partner.
Your passwords are also at risk of being exposed since hackers only need to see you type it into the screen to immediately gain access to your account. Moreover, people often use the same or similar passwords across multiple accounts, allowing hackers to get into several key accounts at once.
Hackers Could Lock You Out of Your Streaming App Accounts
When hackers gain access to your Chromecast via public Wi-Fi, they have the ability to see and change your information.
Remember, since your Chromecast and the device you’re casting from must be connected to the same network, hackers will also be able to gain access to your phone, laptop, or tablet, and any information on it.
But, why would they want to do this?
Well, this information makes big bucks on the dark web. So, one way hackers make money from hacking you is by locking you out of your streaming apps. From here they can steal your bank information and other personal info used to commit identity theft.
Since you’re locked out of your account, you won’t be able to stop them from stealing this info. You also may not immediately realize what’s happened and instead think you’ve just forgotten your password.
Alternatively, they could quietly access your account and sell its credentials to interested buyers looking for a cheap alternative to paying for a streaming app subscription.
The streaming account’s fraudulent buyer can use the account for months without the original owner noticing, especially if they’ve gained access to a family account.
Unfortunately, I knew someone who actually bought access to a hacked Netflix account and used it for almost six months before the owners eventually caught on and changed the password.
Note that this also gives the buyer access to your login credentials and credit card information, which they can use however they like.
Another risk of connecting your Chromecast to a public Wi-Fi network is that you could fall victim to a cruel prank.
Hackers could broadcast videos to your TV using your hacked Chromecast.
While usually harmless, these broadcasted images or videos can sometimes be inappropriate or disturbing. Senior people and children, in particular, could be frightened and confused by these pranks and believe they’re in real danger.
Hackers Could Spy on You
One of the biggest concerns of connecting to a public Wi-Fi network is that your Chromecast could be hacked and give the hacker access to the TV’s camera.
This is a particularly big concern if you’re using a smart TV as many of them have built-in cameras that most users are not aware of.
At the same time, they could also hack your phone’s camera, since it will be connected to the same public Wi-Fi network as your Chromecast.
Hackers could record video and audio of you, then use it to blackmail you later.
Alternatively, they may also sell the videos or pictures on the dark web, especially if you’re in a particularly exposed state.
So, do yourself a favor and stay away from public Wi-Fi networks.
To learn more about the risks of connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, watch the video below.
What Are Other Ways I Can Connect My Chromecast to the Internet Without Using a Public Wi-Fi Network?
So, connecting your Chromecast to public Wi-Fi is out of the question. Now what?
Luckily there are other ways to connect your Chromecast to the internet while away from home without putting your cyber security and privacy at risk.
Let’s discuss the alternatives to connecting your Chromecast to public Wi-Fi.
Connect Your Chromecast to a Mobile Hotspot
You can connect your Chromecast to your phone’s mobile hotspot.
You will just need to turn on your phone’s hotspot and set up your Chromecast as a new device using the Google Home app. Although this requires some extra work, it usually only takes a few minutes.
Remember to set a password so that others can’t randomly connect to it.
Set up one phone’s mobile hotspot. Then connect your other phone to it before setting up your Chromecast on its Google Home app.
When asked to select a network to connect to, click on your hotspot’s name from the list.
Presto! Your Chromecast has an internet connection!
However, there are two main downsides to this.
Firstly, you will be unable to cast content to your Chromecast from the phone you’re using as a hotspot. This means you’ll need another device (e.g. smartphone, tablet, laptop) to cast content onto the TV.
However, many people travel with both their computer and smartphone, allowing them to use their phone as a hotspot.
Secondly, streaming content uses a lot of data. So if you don’t have an unlimited data plan, make sure you don’t drain all of your data. You may also find that your hotspot is slower than Wi-Fi.
Watch the video below to learn how to connect your Chromecast to your phone’s hotspot.
Invest in a 4G Hotspot Box
You can invest in a 4G hotspot box .
Think of these boxes as compact, portable Wi-Fi routers that are small enough to fit in your back pocket.
They can be charged using a USB cable and often hold their charge for several hours at a time.
You can purchase a SIM card and insert it directly into the hotspot box, allowing you to use 4G data without draining your phone’s mobile data.
This allows you to set up a secure Wi-Fi network wherever you go, as long as it’s within the telecommunication company’s range of use.
You can connect your Chromecast to it like any other Wi-Fi network. The only difference is you can sleep easy knowing you haven’t just exposed your devices to hackers.
Just don’t forget to set a password to protect your private connection and connected devices!
Wrapping Things Up
You should avoid connecting your Chromecast to public Wi-Fi, especially if you use streaming apps that would give them access to your credit card info, passwords, etc.
You should also take extra care when connecting to public Wi-Fi if your TV has a camera, as hackers could spy on you and use whatever information they’ve gathered to blackmail you later.
Luckily, you can always connect your Chromecast to your phone’s hotspot or a handy 4G hotspot box .
What’s your experience connecting a Chromecast to public Wi-Fi? Did you know that connecting your devices to public Wi-Fi could be so dangerous?
Let us know in the comments below!
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.