Sunday, June 25, 2017 01:54

Protect Your Computer and Personal Information on Public Hotspots and Wi-Fi

Many of us use our laptops out in public such as in cafes, coffee shops, airports, malls, hotel lobbies, and elsewhere.  Unfortunately, cyber-thieves know this fact and often set up in these locations for such nefarious purposes.   For even a low-level hacker or computer thief, it is quite easy to steal information from users while on these public networks.  Clever thieves will even set up fake network points for the unsuspecting to connect to get online.  Even if you connect to a legitimate wi-fi network, your data can still be intercepted or hacked.  While the only way to prevent such actions is to completely avoid public internet access points (but don’t forget to secure your home and work networks!), you can take some steps to minimize the risk of public hotspots:

  1. Don’t access websites that contain confidential information.
  2. If you have to login to any accounts or websites (even unimportant ones), make sure that the usernames and passwords are not the same as other accounts.
    That way, if a hacker gets your username and password at least they won’t be able to access other accounts.
  3. Use a virtual private network (VPN).  This is a little more technical, but you can read about one such VPN here.
  4. Turn off your wireless network when you know you won’t use it.
  5. Use a firewall and anti-virus software.
  6. Before entering any personal info on a site, check to be sure it’s secure. Look for https:// in the address bar, along with an icon indicating that VeriSign or another independent party has certified the site as secure.
  7. If you connect to a hotspot or wi-fi access point, make sure it is legitimate.  If you aren’t sure, make sure to ask an employee or other official for the correct network name.
  8. Get a mobile broadband card, hotspot, or other connection device.  This is a more costly option, but it can be more secure than the average public hotspot and has the added benefit of being able to be use in other locations even where wi-fi isn’t present.

It is important to know that there are no guaranties when it comes to staying safe and secure online, but using the above can help you stay a little safer.   If you are in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, or anywhere in Florida and have concerns about how the legal implications of cyber-security could affect you or your business, please contact attorney Brent Gordon at The Gordon Law Firm, P.A. in Oldsmar, Florida.

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