I watched a program on the BBC last night that highlighted the risks of using any public wireless hotspot.
They had examples of hijacking someones gmail session and getting some email usernames and passwords. I would assume they are talking about an intruder sitting in the wireless zone and using a packet sniffer to monitor unencrypted traffic, and some email usernames and passwords and web traffic are transported unencrypted. The way they were talking it was as if they could also hijack someones session, I assume by reading the cookies being transmitted and then using them to jump on their session.
However, I was very confused over this, as most important sites use SSL and gmail definitely works over HTTPS. Therefore, all traffic between the browser and the web server (including anything being broadcast over the local public network) would be encrypted and unreadable.
Am I correct in thinking that you're only at risk if you're using anything that's not using HTTPS & SSL? If that's the case and it seems likely that it is, then that stuff is pretty obvious, and the program was probably aimed at less tech savvy people than myself.
I'd be very interested how they got into someone's gmail though, as to my understanding that is totally secure!