Originally Posted by Spike_dawg
One more thing....If you are connected to a free network then it is unencrypted, most likely someones private network with no security. This means anything you do on the internet is in the public domain and easily read by anyone. If you bank on the internet, purchase things with your credit card, etc. then you are broadcasting this information to anyone who wants to listen. Kind of like posting your private information on a forum and hoping no one takes advantage of you. It's your call.
Actually, if you're using a site to bank or purchase things, most likely they're protected with SSL-encryption and you should see a little padlock in your web browser.
However, for e-mail, unless you use a provider, like Gmail, that allows you to use ssl-encrypted e-mail server access, anything you write in e-mail will be sent in cleartext, including your user name, password, e-mail server account name, etc.