Public Wi-Fi and the DangersIn our world today, everything revolves around technology.  Whether in cars, grocery stores, restaurants or coffee shops, you will find people staring at their phones or working on the computers and while there are many perks to this, there is also a significant downside to it.  Did you know that some of those people you may see on their laptops and/or phones may be trying to steal YOUR identity?  So, before you think about signing onto your computer, you need to know about public Wi-Fi and the dangers associated with it.

Free Wi-Fi May Cost You 

The current trend of being able to work on phones and laptops regardless of where you are is an amazing feat, but with the growing trend of free Wi-Fi offers at many restaurants, airports, and coffee shops, there is also a greater chance of being cyber stalked and hacked.  Imagine sitting in your neighborhood coffee shop one morning trying to complete a project on your laptop.  Everyone around you appears to be doing some of the same, but what you may not realize is that while you were sitting there, your bank account was accessed.  Just like that, you are a victim of a cyber-attack and now your identity is up for grabs.

Typical Ways Cyber Criminals Can Access Your Personal Data, but Not Limited to:

Using public Wi-Fi automatically puts your identity, personal information, and safety in jeopardy and below are just some ways that criminals CAN do it.

Fake Malware- Cyber criminals are consumed with learning high tech trickery to access your personal information. Without you knowing, they can install fake malware, remove the legitimate malware and instantaneously, your identity is at risk.

Man-In-The-Middle- This is a devised scheme used by cyber criminals to access your personal accounts and make any changes they see fit.  

Fake Hotspots- Hackers are smart enough to lure people in by offering public hotspots that are fake.  Once you sign in, they have access to your personal information and identity.

Sniffing- ANY time you access Wi-Fi in public, you are exposing your private information to those sniffing around.  Hackers use a technique referred to as “sniffing” for likely users who are signed onto the public Wi-Fi.  Since these networks are typically unencrypted, your information is public.    

Some Do’s and Don’ts When Using Public Wi-Fi

Don’t risk your identity!  If you are in a public location using free Wi-Fi, you should know some common things to protect yourself and your information such as:

  • DO purchase a VPN (Virtual Private Network) so that when you are in public, your information is private and encrypted.
  • DO routine software updates on your device(s).
  • DO authenticate each website you access when using public Wi-Fi. There are many fake ones out there that appear legitimate but aren’t.   The site should show HTTPS and never HTTP.
  • DON’T log onto any banking institution(s) or any other type of financial/personal accounts while using public Wi-Fi.
  • DON’T leave open tabs from previously viewed websites.
  • DO use your own username and password when accessing public Wi-Fi, if and when possible.

Remember that “Free” may end up costing you in the end if you aren’t careful.  Your identity should be protected and we, at Twin City Insurance Agency, understand the importance and value of your identity and safety.  Feel free to contact us at 828-464-2643 to discuss ways you can avoid being victimized by cyber criminals.