PNP, GCash warn public against free Wi-Fi

The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) in close coordination with GCash, has issued an advisory cautioning against the use of free Wi-Fi networks, which are often unsecured and can lead to mobile phone hacking, remote access, and account takeovers.

The leading finance app has expressed concern about the potential risks of connecting to free and unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots which may lead to millions of user accounts being vulnerable to cyber threats. Meanwhile, the PNP-ACG cautioned that these malicious free Wi-Fi hotspots are commonly found in hotel rooms, coffee shops, airports, and other public areas.

“While open Wi-Fi networks may offer the allure of free and easily accessible internet, it’s important to recognize that their open and unsecured nature also exposes users to vulnerabilities and cyber threats,” cautions PNP-ACG Director, PBGen Ronnie Francis Cariaga.

One of the primary concerns highlighted by Cariaga is the susceptibility of electronic devices to Man-In-The-Middle (MTM) attacks when connected to open Wi-Fi networks. “An attacker can intercept the communication flow between your devices and web browsers, potentially stealing sensitive information and even hijacking your device,” Cariaga said.

In light of these serious security risks, the PNP-ACG and GCash strongly advise the public to exercise caution and refrain from using public Wi-Fi networks. Instead, individuals are encouraged to rely on secure mobile networks for their internet connectivity needs, particularly when traveling.

“Public and open Wi-Fi networks are risky because they often lack strong encryption, allowing cybercriminals to intercept data or distribute malware, and they may feature fake hotspots set up to steal information,” said GCash Chief Information Security Officer, Miguel Geronilla.

Users are encouraged to report incidents of scams, fraud, and cybercrime to the PNP-ACG through its hotlines at (02) 8414-1560 or 0998-598-8116 or via email at

To report a scam, visit the official GCash Help Center at or message Gigi on the website and type “I want to report a scam.” Customers can also reach out to the official GCash hotline at 2882 for inquiries and other concerns.