The Scoop on Wi-Fi Security
Wi-Fi has made it easy to access the internet on the road and in your own home. Several devices can use a Wi-Fi network without any compromise on speed. But is the Wi-Fi hotspot at your local coffee shop, airport lounge, or hotel really secure? Is your home network any safer? For now it is best to assume any Wi-Fi hotspot is not secure.
Hackers have begun to set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots in order to steal your information, or commit crimes. In a recent article the New York Times reported a woman found Federal agents at her door ready to arrest her because her neighbor was viewing child pornography on his computer using her Wi-Fi network. If she had taken precautions, this nightmare would have never happened.
Your mobile devices might not be any safer than your home computer if you don't take precautions. Here are some tips to keep your data safe and to help keep you from being victimized by hackers or criminals.
Make sure your home router is secure. All routers which are at least six years old have WPA2 privacy. If your router is older, invest in a new one and activate the security settings. This will keep neighbors or the random passer by from jumping on your network and compromising your security.
Another important security protection is a strong password. Never use anything obvious like your birthday, your anniversary, children's names, or anything else which might be guessed easily. Change your password often to keep it secret and secure. Use random numbers and letters so that your password is known only by you.
Activate your mobile device's security settings. New mobile devices also use WPA2 protection. There should be a button on your device with two arrows and reads “Wi-Fi Protected Setup”. Make sure your mobile device uses the latest protection, not WPA or WEP which have been compromised by hackers many years ago.
Only use HTTPS sites when you're connected to a Wi-Fi network. When you see https:// in a web address this means the site is encrypted. Encryption scrambles the data going to and coming from secure websites making it hard for anyone to intercept your data.
If they do intercept it, it will just be gibberish. This is very important when banking and shopping online. It is best not to do these activities while connected to a Wi-Fi network, but sometimes it can't be helped. Especially if you travel a lot and use online banking to manage your finances.
Find a random Wi-Fi hotspot? Think twice about using it. Hackers have taken up the practice of setting up authentic looking hotspots to lure users in order to steal their personal information. Once they have access to your credit cards, banking information, and personal information they can wreak havoc on your credit and your finances.
Use a VPN to create a secure connection. A VPN is one way you can protect your information and connection when you are using a Wi-Fi network. It creates a tunnel that encrypts your data and make it nearly impossible for anyone to intercept and use your personal information. Many companies use VPNs to create secure networks for their remote employees. You can tap into the power with one of the many VPN products available.
You personal information is just that, personal. Do all you can to protect it and you can help prevent hackers and criminals from accessing your data. If you've ever been the victim of identity theft, you know the nightmare it can cause. Be safe and be smart with your Wi-Fi use.