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But it’s free. How could it be dangerous?

By Mark Molzen

Wi-Fi is popping up everywhere these days – coffee shops, fast food spots, and airports. Wi-Fi, sometimes referred to as a “hot spot,” allows almost constant access to the Internet without the use of cellular networks or tapping into monthly data allowances. Wi-Fi is convenient, but is it dangerous?

But it’s free. How could it be dangerous?

Connecting to a Wi-Fi hot spot can invite unauthorized access because the wireless network may utilize unencrypted, insecure connections. This could allow anyone nearby to snoop on everything you do online and steal your personal information. This could include your user ID, passwords, or personally sensitive information. In addition, connecting to Wi-Fi may be a trap to use your device to infect other devices or networks. Here are some tips for secure use of Wi-Fi:

– Do not automatically connect to Wi-Fi as this setting does not give you proper time to verify that the hotspot is legitimate.

– Use different passwords for different sites. In the event your password is stolen, this approach avoids compromising all of your accounts and logins for sites you visit.

– Disable the sharing features for printers, remote login options, and access to iTunes or other music services. Access to these functions can create an entry point for access to more sensitive information.

– Make sure your desktop or personal firewall is turned on to help catch basic attacks and attempts to infiltrate your device.

– Update your anti-virus software to help detect efforts to gain access to your device, accounts, or systems.

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