Internet access is becoming more and more prevalent, which is great for people that want the flexibility of communicating both personally and professionally in a number of places. You can frequently find Wi-Fi access in coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. However, those that choose to access these free Wi-Fi networks should understand the risks that are involved with connecting a personal device to a network that is often open to the general public.

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Information Is Easy To Obtain For Hackers

In an article written for USA Today, Monmouth County prosecutor and cybercrime expert Kevin Clark states that the chances of a person being hacked on free Wi-Fi far exceed the chances of their home being broken into. Hackers can use tools that are made to guess passwords to gain information to someone’s social media, e-mail, and online banking accounts, making it easy to steal an identity and gain access. Once this happens, you will face a lengthy and expensive battle to try to secure your personal information and funding sources.

False Networks Can Lure Unsuspecting Users

In high-traffic areas such as airport lounges and restaurants, some hackers will set up fake Wi-Fi networks designed to grab information from unsuspecting users. Once these users connect their devices to the malicious networks, their sensitive information can easily be logged and used for exploitation. Computerworld reported on such a scam in 2007, providing the details of how you can not only fall victim to such a scam, but your computer could be turned into a transmission point for these false networks to lure others to connect to it.

To avoid this, it is a good idea to verify the names and passwords of networks at an establishment that you are visiting with staff members and look into getting your masters in computer science online. Employees at a shop or business will know the authentic information for that particular Wi-Fi network. This will allow you to only connect to legitimate networks and will improve the safety of information that you transmit online.

Poor Security Protocols

Increasingly, big businesses such as Panera Bread and McDonald’s are offering free Wi-Fi connections to patrons. However, because these networks do not directly contribute to profits, corporate executives do not invest more than is absolutely necessary to get them up and running. A Geeks.com article discusses how major corporations include in their policies information about their lack of encryption on their networks. Many users gloss right over this information or cannot interpret what it means in the first place.

Internet access is undoubtedly a convenience for people to use when they are out dining or shopping. However, there are many hidden dangers involved with accessing these networks. Understand what the risks are and be smart about how you use free Wi-Fi to safeguard your sensitive information in today’s digital age.

About the Author

Maxwell has been using the Internet for 17 years and does his best to make sure separate passwords are used for every website so if one got compromised the risk would be minimal.