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Public Relations

Beware Public WiFi

Public wifi leads to hacked accounts

Hackers are everywhere

It’s summer. You’re traveling. Airports. Coffee shops. Public parks and plazas all offer free wifi. Sure you think you’ll just check your email, your bank balance, or login to your website. And just that quickly, your accounts can be skimmed, breached.

Stop. Protect yourself before using free wifi. Free wifi is open to all. Not just to you, but to anyone who wishes to snoop  over your virtual shoulder and capture your passwords or logins.

One of my Facebook friends posted the message that his email was hacked while he was in the airport. Now he’s stuck with the need to protect his identity and announce to friends that we must be alert to spam emails or possible malware coming as email content.

Advice from an article on App.com tells us that open networks leave you vulnerable,

The best advice for users is not to be lulled by the convenience of Wi-Fi, to be skeptical and to take your own precautions to secure your computer and information…

“Public, unsecured open (Wi-Fi) networks, those are quite unsafe to use,” said Reza Curtmola, an associate professor of computer science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. “It’s dangerous to connect to the Internet on them for several reasons.”

Protect yourself

Experts recommend you use a VPN (virtual private network) when using public wifi. A VPN can help you protect your data and associated accounts. Many corporate travelers are required to use VPNs. Actually, we should all use them to prevent unauthorized access to our accounts and data. Check out VPNs via cnet.

If you must use free, unsecured wifi, make sure you take steps to secure your accounts by turning on two step authentication. Facebook has it, Gmail has it, Yahoo has it and most banks now have it. It works by requiring a second authentication factor such as a second password or app generated code to be entered when an unknown device seeks access to your account.

The other strong defense is a long, random complex password. Use two random, non-related words that make no sense together coupled with at least three or four random numbers.

Explore the danger

Infographic from HideMyAss on the dangers of public wifi. Click to view the entire infographic.

Open-WiFi-Danger-Cropped

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