Public Wifi

Think safety when you use a "Hotspot"

WiFi Hotspots are great for browsing the web or reading your favorite blog. However, they're not the place for online banking, making online purchases, checking email, logging into your social network, or anything else that sends confidential information over the internet. 

Public WiFi Hotspots that you can connect to without a password are sending everything in clear, readable text that can be intercepted and read by criminals. Any passwords, credit card information or other sensitive, private information can be easily stolen.

There are ways to protect yourself though. Just follow a few simple guidelines.

Use only secure networks

When you look at the list of Wireless Networks available, most computers and mobile devices will display a “lock icon” for secure networks. Do not choose a network without this icon.

A secured network uses data encryption to transmit information from your computer or device, which makes the information unreadable. One of the quickest ways to tell if a network is secure, is to try joining the network. If it asks for a password, it is safe.

Turn off File and Print Sharing

Your computer and device settings include the option of sharing files and printing. This allows users to move files between computers over the network.

On a public WiFi network with sharing turned on, criminals have easy access to all the information stored on your device. Turn off File Sharing and Print Sharing to minimize your chances of having information stolen.

Use your own hotspot

If you have a phone that will act as a personal hotspot, or a mobile broadband modem, use it. Such devices are far more secure than public hotspots. Make sure you use recommended security settings, and a secure password for your mobile hotspot connection.

Without security settings, criminals can use your hotspot as a doorway into your computer, or device. Not securing your personal hotspot with a password could also let strangers freeload off your connection, which can max out your data plan, or increase your bill.