From Newark Police
So you’re sitting at the airport. Your flight has been delayed (again), and you can’t help but wonder if your HR forgot to reimburse you for last month’s business trip (again).
No problem, you think.
You’re at the coffee shop. They offer free WiFi. Fire up the laptop and check your bank account. Done. Sounds great.
Until you realize days later that one of the 200 people sitting around you “listened in” on your signal; has your bank login information; and is now sitting in a similar coffee shop in Aruba - thanks to your savings.
Here are some tips to help keep your public hotspot Web surfing safe and trouble-free.
1. Only Connect to Trusted Networks
Are you the type of person who opens your smartphone or laptop and immediately connects to any unsecured connection? In today’s wireless world, these free hotspots are increasingly easy to find. Beware though. To a cybercriminal with just a modicum of experience, it can be relatively easy to create a free network to entice you in with your mobile device-only to direct you where he wants or grab any information you use. Stick to SSIDs you recognize, like those listed in public places that advertise free WiFi.
2. Look for Free WiFi Accounts that Require a Login
When you use Norton Zone no one will ever see your personal data without your permission. No exceptions. With private folder and file sharing you decide exactly what others can do and see within a shared folder, so, you can keep your private Stuff private.
3. Use Paid WiFi Access For More Security
Why pay for something you can get for free? Because that access point is likely to be more secure. By taking this route, you’ll get secure login credentials, which should help toughen up the barriers against the free, but perhaps dubious, WiFi path.
4. Your Smartphone May Open Its Doors Too
If you’re like many people, your smartphone is set to automatically connect to open WiFi accounts. This can help save your cell minutes, and potentially offer faster downloads, too. But are you aware of what hotspots your phone is grabbing onto to when you’re out? Check what’s available before you connect, or simply go into your phone’s settings and turn off the option to connect to anything and everything.
5. Don’t Visit Free Public WiFi unless it’s a Secure Connection
There’s only one way that’s absolutely certain to prevent free, unsecured WiFi snooping, and that’s avoiding free, unsecured WiFi altogether. Is this going too far? Perhaps. It can depend upon the sites you’re visiting. If you’re checking the weather and local restaurants through a recognizable connection, you’re probably all right. Saving the bank and credit card accounts until you’re on a secure connection is also a good idea.
You wouldn't shout out your bank’s log in credentials in a crowd. But even if you did, that wouldn't ensure someone would use the information to wipe out your money. It’s the same with using unsecured free WiFi. Someone might steal your info. Someone might not. You’ll never know until it happens.
Why chance it? Make sure you stay safe when using public WiFi.