Free WiFi has become ubiquitous. It’s a fixture in environments where you might expect to see people on the go, like restaurants and cafés, hotels, and transportation hubs (like airports, train stations and bus terminals) — but today, even small businesses like auto-repair shops and laundromats offer this service to customers with time to kill and information to share.

This is a very sharp double-edged sword. Free WiFi feels like a godsend to people who need to send and retrieve information while away from home or the workplace… but users need to be aware of WiFi’s vulnerability to hackers and thieves—both the kind who steal money and the ones who steal identities.

When you connect with a public WiFi network, you are now using the same IP address as everyone else who’s connected to it. With some easily accessible (sometimes free) programs like “Firesheep” and “Wireshark,” other people can eavesdrop on your browsing session, seeing the same screens you see, and receiving every piece of information you ask for. They can even trick other computers into thinking their device is YOUR device!

So how can you protect yourself when you’re on the go and you want to stay protected? Here are some tips that will prove to be helpful:

Before you leave the house:

> Remember, ALL your mobile devices are at risk: laptops, tablets and cellphones. Be aware.

> Set up a number of different passwords for the sites you frequent. That way, someone who gets one password won’t have access to all your accounts. If you’re forgetful there are programs like KeePass and LastPass that can help you out.

> Make sure all of your devices are equipped with updated anti-malware and security programs. It’s not just hackers you fear; it’s the viruses and snooping programs they can install on your device.

> Turn on your firewall.

> Go to your settings and turn off file sharing, to protect your documents in case anyone breaks in to your computer.

> Set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) you can use. It creates a private network through which your information can travel, almost like a tunnel through any other network, even public WiFi.

> Set your device so it does NOT automatically hook up to the nearest WiFi.

When you’re in a WiFi Hotspot:

> If possible, use your phone’s data plan rather than public WiFi.

> Act as though all WiFi links were illegitimate. Ask employees for the name of their company’s legitimate WiFi network and use that—some network names posted on signage (like “Free Cable WiFi,” or “Complementary Mickey D WiFi”) may have been put up maliciously.

> When your device asks you whether you want it to remember this WiFi network, say “No.” (There’s a program called WiFiPineapple which will enable a hacker’s device to “pretend” it’s a network your device remembers, and “hijack” your browsing session.)

> Avoid keying in your passwords.

> Try to stay off websites with personal information about you… Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media, your bank, online stores, etc.

> Send information only to sites that are fully encrypted. You’re safe if the web address at the top of your screen begins with https. But be careful—make sure that “https” starts the name of every page, not just the landing page!

> If you log in to a site, log out of it when you finish, don’t just leave.

> Beware of “Shoulder surfers” looking towards your device…and watch out for people who seem to be taking selfies, but have their cameras pointed your way, where it can capture your finger movements, and reveal your keystrokes.

Numerous websites report that over 70% of public WiFi users are not concerned about cybersecurity when they’re away from home, and some actually feel that public WiFi is no less secure than their home WiFi. Is it any wonder, then, that so much cybercrime exists? By being aware of the dangers, and following good sense precautions, you can protect yourself from becoming one of the unfortunate victims of hackers and cyber thieves.

Is WIFI safe?
Nexos Latinos Follow Us: Home Entertainment Lifestyle Tech Tips What's Hot Español Published Articles Is WiFi Safe? Posted by Cait on March 2015 in, Tech Tips IsWifiSafe Free WiFi has become ubiquitous. It’s a fixture in environments where you might expect to see people on the go, like restaurants and cafés, hotels, and transportation hubs (like airports, train stations and bus terminals) — but today, even small businesses like auto-repair shops and laundromats offer this service to customers with time to kill and information to share.
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