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Is Public WiFi Safe?

IS PUBLIC WIFI SAFE? Do we need to protect ourselves when we use it? How can we keep our information secure and our identity safe? WIFI USAGE HAS GONE UP 240% With an increasingly mobile lifestyle and the IN 12 MONTHS proliferation of mobile devices, wifi usage is growing dramatically. Public wifi hotspots are becoming ubiquitous, and include virtually all hotels, airports, coffee shops, parks, libraries, and public transportation. The one thing that these hotspots have in common? Probably all of them are completely insecure. Wifi signals are just radio waves. Anyone with an ordinary laptop and readily available software can intercept In the past 12 months, 3 out of 4 people - all internet communications in any about 75% of the general public - used free public hotspot. wifi at coffee shops and restaurants; 54% used hotel wifi; and 38% used free wifi in an airport. PUBLIC WIFI: Are we worried? In a survey, 79% of respondents UNCONCERNED believe that using free public 7% wifi can lead to identity 33% Surprisingly, only 15% are "very theft. Yet a shocking 44% FAIRLY SAFE concerned" when using a public 15% don't know how, or do VERY wifi hotspot. Another 45% are not believe, that there CONCERNED "concerned," 33% think it's "fairly is a way to protect safe," and 7% are "unconcerned." themselves. 45% CONCERNED 44% Nearly 70% of folks knew that a password on a public wifi network was not enough to keep their data secure, another 7% of respondents did not know how, or do not believe, that there's a way thought a password was sufficient, and 1 in 4 people (24%) were simply not sure. to protect their private information. Using a personal VPN is the best way to secure the "pipe" that your data flows through so that unwanted people can't intercept the data. What are we doing on public wifi? 24% 57% This can be risky behavior for your employer since the average annual cost per cyber attack is over $188,000 (including everything from stolen funds and legal admit to logging in to sensitive made a purchase using their credit card on public wifi in work-related information in a expenses to costs associated wifi hotspot. with notifying the company's customers and securing its the last 12 months. computer system). Are we protecting ourselves? 79% of respondents believe that using a free wifi connection can lead to identity theft. But only 27% of people surveyed are using a virtual private network to protect themselves in hotspots. Not very many people use virtual private networks, despite warnings from the National Security Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, and other government agencies. Large companies offer employees who travel VPNS; personal VPN services are now available to protect small businesses, professionals and individuals who use public wifi. PUBLIC WIFI SECURITY TIPS CHECK THE NETWORK NAME LOOK FOR SSL ENCRYPTION In an attempt to trick you, a hacker can Most websites that request sensitive information easily set up a fake network like 'FREE use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). The URL will Airport WiFi." Check with the venue. have "https" at the beginning of the address. But even this method alone isn't foolproof. 3 TURN OFF SHARING 4 TURN OFF WIRELESS Turn off file and printer sharing and disable network discovery if you're using Windows; if you're on a Mac, enable the When you're not using it, turn off your wireless. If you're not surfing the Internet or sending email, but still using your computer in a wifi hotspot, disable your wireless connection. "stealth mode." UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE USE A FIREWALL Keep your software updated. This goes A firewall protects your machine from the bad for antivirus, malware, and spyware. guys who want to find vulnerabilities on your computer. Before you connect to a wifi hotspot, go to Control Panel/System and Security/ Windows Firewall on a PC; check System Preferences/Security/Firewall on a Mac. USE A PERSONAL VPN. It's the only safe way to surf online in wireless hotspots. ABOUT THIS SURVEY This survey was done by the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC), a nonprofit, nationally respected organization dedicated exclusively to the understanding of identity theft and related issues. For more information, visit

Is Public WiFi Safe?

shared by PRIVATEWiFi on May 29
In the past year public Wi-Fi usage has gone up 240%, but the questions we should be asking: do we need to protect ourselves when we use it and how can be keep ourselves secure? A recent survey by the...


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