Public or Free Wi-Fi Sites

BE CAREFUL WHEN USING PUBLIC Wi-Fi CONNECTIONS

The Federal Trade Commission advises that places like local coffee shops, airports, or public gathering places that are connected to "free wireless" networks are convenient, but often they’re not secure. Hackers at Starbucks who call their fake WAP "Starbucks Wireless Network" or at the Atlanta airport call it "Atlanta Airport Free Wireless" have all sorts of people connecting to their computer in minutes. The hackers can then sniff unprotected data from the data streams sent between the unwitting victims and their intended remote hosts. You'd be surprised how much data, even passwords, are still sent in clear text. Information can be protected utilizing wireless hotspots that are fully encrypted and avoid using mobile applications that require personal and financial information.

 

Public Wi-Fi Helpful Hints

  • Be aware 
    Public Wi-Fi is inherently insecure – so be cautious. 

  • Remember – any device could be at risk 
    Laptops, smartphones, and tablets are all susceptible to the wireless security risks. 

  • Treat all Wi-Fi links with suspicion 
    Don’t just assume that the Wi-Fi link is legitimate. It could be a bogus link that has been set up by a cybercriminal that’s trying to capture valuable, personal information from unsuspecting users. Question everything – and don’t connect to an unknown or unrecognized wireless access point. 

  • Use a VPN (virtual private network) 
    By using a VPN when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you’ll effectively be using a ‘private tunnel’ that encrypts all of your data that passes through the network. This can help to prevent cybercriminals – that are lurking on the network – from intercepting your data. 

  • Avoid using specific types of website 
    It’s a good idea to avoid logging into websites where there’s a chance that cybercriminals could capture your identity, passwords, or personal information – such as social networking sites, online banking services, or any websites that store your credit card information.  

  • Protect your device against cyberattacks 
    Make sure all of your devices are protected by a rigorous anti-malware and security solution – and ensure that it’s updated as regularly as possible. 

     

The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is Our Shared Responsibility. Our Shared Responsibility is the theme for National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2016. - Visit: http://www.staysafeonline.org

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