Unified Technology Blog

Using Public WiFi

on November 6, 2019 No comments

Public wifi, tech adviceYes, it is convenient to have the ability to access WiFi in public places. But is it smart? The answer is no.

It is not even a good idea to plug your smartphone or tablet into public charging stations.

Why? Because people who steal data, personal information and plant software on your very personal devices will have access to your information. Not only that. If you are a lover of smart devices, they can have access to every device in your home that is currently set up to respond to commands from your smartphone, computer or tablet.

Almost every smartphone has the ability to become a mobile hot spot, so if you really need to use WiFi outside your home, then please, call up your hotspot and log into your own WiFi network.

It is also very important you check your settings on your smart devices and make certain to disable the option to automatically connect to any available WiFi network.

Many of us will be travelling to visit friends and family in the coming months. Yes, it’s nice to be able to spend our time watching a movie, reading a book or listening to music. But a better way to do that is to prepare ahead of time and download your books, music, and movies onto your tablet before you go. And perhaps, if you have the option, kick up your data plan for the months you plan to travel. It’s also a good idea to bring your own portable charging device.

Please, in addition to not using public WiFi, install a robust antivirus program on your phones and tablets. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Stolen data can affect your life for years. Your credit can be ruined, private communications could be shared and even your home can be compromised. This is serious, don’t take it lightly.

If you think we are being alarmists, take a look at this excerpt from a post on TripWire.com:

“……WIFI HACKS FLY UNDER THE RADAR

While theft of data from unsuspecting consumers using public WiFi spots is presumed to be fairly pervasive, it doesn’t get the attention that major hacks of corporate or financial systems do. These thefts happen in dribbles – with bad guys stealing bits of information from many users and accounts – rather than a tsunami.

One contributing factor is that WiFi is so pervasive. A 2015 report by WiFi network provider iPass estimated that there were more than 50 million public hotspots worldwide – one for every 150 people, a number which is expected to grow to 340 million by 2018, or one for every 20 people on earth.

Another factor is that so many public WiFi networks are inherently insecure. Kaspersky Security Network recently analyzed some 32 million public hotspots and found that 25 percent do not use any encryption at all, meaning that anyone with an antenna can pick up the communications. Another three percent use an old form of encryption that is essentially ineffective.”

Remember, if you are going to be traveling, take some time to prepare, and for your sake, stay off public WiFi.

Your Tech Guys

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