Do you feel as though your favorite mobile device has become an appendage of your body, leaving you uncomfortable without it? Are you constantly checking in with your online social network for the latest updates? If so, then you have undoubtedly gone to the corner coffee shop and used their free Internet. You probably went about your business as usual, checking your emails and maybe even indulging in some online shopping.
After taking into account the average consumer’s contestant Internet usage as well as the fact that people are persistently on-the-go, it is not surprising that Wi-Fi has gone from a luxury to a necessity. Whether you’re at the local coffee shop, a hotel or the airport, you expect to be able to stay connected. However, connecting on-the-go may come at a price. In public hot spots, hackers often set up fake Wi-Fi networks and advertize them as free Wi-Fi connections offered by your current venue. Even the unsophisticated hacker can hijack your user names and passwords, bank account numbers and other personal information without much effort.
Well, all the hacker has to do is create a dummy site that replicates the venue’s real connection and set up shop in one of these public hot spots. The hacker will configure his computer to make sure you browse the Internet using his network instead of the bona-fide one. His connection will likely be stronger than the legitimate connection you think you are using, since he will be closer in proximity to you. Everything you do from that point forward will go through his computer; he can see everything you do online, and he may use your information to commit other frauds. What’s worse, you won’t even realize what hit you, because you are under the impression that you were connecting to a bona-fide Wi-Fi connection.
Stay Secure On-The-Go
1. Verify Your Access Point: Check with personnel at the hotel, airport or other current hot spot before you log in to their network; have them confirm that you are actually connecting to their access point. Although the name of the network you are connecting to may be the same as that offered by the legitimate network you are intending to access, a hacker can change his network name to match that of a bona-fide network. So, if you decide to connect to an unfamiliar ad-hoc network, proceed at your own risk, because you may be opening up your virtual file cabinet for a hacker’s own viewing pleasure.
2. Use Up-to-Date Antivirus Software: Antivirus software detects a malicious code, like a virus or a worm, and prevents it from harming your computer. Make sure you have the latest version of this software protecting your private information.
3. Keep Your Firewall Turned On: A firewall helps to protect your computer from hackers. While firewall software is prepackaged on some operating systems, it may need to be purchased separately for your computer.
4. Disable Automatic Connections: Before you leave your home or office, make sure your computer is not set to automatically connect to unknown networks. Otherwise, you could be connecting to a hacker’s network and not even know it!
5. Disable File Sharing: When you are not using a trusted network, make sure your computer’s file sharing function is not turned on. Better yet, turn your computer off when you are not using it. When your computer is off, hackers cannot connect to your computer.
6. Download With Caution: Even your up-to-date anti-virus software may not protect you from some of the things your may download from the Internet. So, never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know, and be wary of forwarded attachments, even from people you do know.
7. Be Aware of People Around You: When you’re using Wi-Fi in a high-traffic environment, make sure to keep an eye open for any suspicious characters in the area. If something doesn’t feel right, its probably not.
8. Share Your Experiences on Scambook: Often times hackers stick to familiar locals. So lets kick them out of our most-traveled-to hot spots by uniting our voices and posting complaints on Scambook!