Using free public wireless networks at airports, hotels and coffee shops may come at a cost. AARP just launched their “Watch Your Wi-Fi” campaign to raise awareness of the risks of using those free networks. AARP Nebraska Communications Director Devorah Lanner says a lot of people are setting themselves up to fall victim to hackers and cyber thieves.
AARP reports that a new survey of internet user’s show nearly half failed a quick about online and wireless safety and tens-of-thousands admit they engage in activity that could put them at risk from hackers looking to steal their personal information. The survey shows that 25% of those participating admitted to using free public Wi-Fi once a week or more. The “Watch Your Wi-Fi” campaign is designed to educate people about the risks.
The survey also shows that 27% of respondents say they have banked online using public Wi-Fi in the last three months and have purchased products or services using a credit card.
Lanner says, “The Fraud Watch Network’s campaign is giving Nebraskans the information they need to stay connected without sacrificing their personal security. Those recommendations include:
If you are not using the internet but in a location with a public Wi-Fi network you need to disable your wireless connection. It is not safe to access websites with sensitive information, such as banking or credit cards while using public networks even if the service is secured by https.
They also remind internet users to not fall for a fake. Con artists often set up unsecure networks with names similar to a legitimate coffee shop, hotel or other free network. Don’t access your email, banking or credit card accounts while using public Wi-Fi. Don’t let your mobile device automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi. Don’t surf using an unknown public network if the website requires sensitive information like online shopping. Your cell phone network is safer.