I have the BT Wi-Fi app installed on my Android phone and sometimes when I'm out and about I'll hear it chime then a symbol appears at the top of the screen. I am assuming that is verified as a safe connection for checking email or surfing the web.
There are other times though when I'll go somewhere and the phone will pick up a seemingly unsecured wi-fi connection that claims to related to BT and there is no chime. This happened yesterday for example at St Austell train station in Cornwall where an unsecure connection called BT-Fon was available with a strong signal. Am I correct to think these connections are potentially dangerous? According to the BT app the nearest BT wi-fi spot was almost a mile away.
Most of the time I am at home with the phone and using the home wi-fi but I wondered what is the best practice for safely accessing wi-fi when out and about with a phone?
The chime has nothing to do with security. You can turn the chime off if you want. All it does is alert you that your phone has connected to the BTWifi signal. If it doesn't chime it may just be that the connection has not been made.
No public Wifi connection, BTWifi or others is secure and you should never assume it is.
You should never do any banking or anything else that requires you entering bank card details etc while using a public network.
at St Austell train station in Cornwall where an unsecure connection called BT-Fon was available with a strong signal. Am I correct to think these connections are potentially dangerous? According to the BT app the nearest BT wi-fi spot was almost a mile away.
No. Bt Fon was the old name for BT's public WiFi service which is partly powered by users' home broadband.
You should never transmit any confidential information through any public wifi connection.
I would never check bank details outdoors on a public network but presumably this could put email login details at risk with push notification, simply because somebody sends you an email at that time. I am currently using a Tesco PAYG plan and make very little use of mobile data because it quickly burns a hole in the available credit but it sounds like public wi-fi is downright dangerous.
It is not dangerous, you just have to take reasonable security measures when you use one.
As regards using push email, the chances of somebody obtaining login details because you have push notifications may not be impossible but I would say it is very slim.