Is public Wifi safe? | What the Tech?

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (WHAT THE TECH?) — We’ve come to expect free public Wifi wherever we go as it’s convenient and cuts down on the data we use, but is it safe?

The good news is free public WiFi is safer than it used to be. Websites are generally encrypted and our phones and laptops have safeguards. But public wifi networks are still hot for hackers who know how to get past security.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Before using free WiFi, make sure it’s a legitimate network.

In an airport, never trust a network called “free airport WiFi”. Instead, ask someone who works there for the name of the official network. Hackers often set up fake networks to intercept traffic.

  • Look for secure networks

If it is, it should say so. If there are no secure networks, use your data plan. Most plans now offer plenty of data each month without needing to upgrade the plan.

  • Never log on to your bank or credit card accounts in an airport.

It’s probably safe to use free WiFi for some things. It isn’t safe for things like banking or paying bills.

If you’re browsing the web, make sure the site you are visiting is encrypted by looking at the icon next to the search bar. Look for secure, or sometimes it’ll have https, or a lock icon.

  • If you get a pop-up while on public wifi, do not accept it.

Hackers are known to use this tactic to log on to someone’s phone or computer.

  • Don’t click on any links in a suspicious email (you should avoid that even at home)
  • Get a VPN to encrypt traffic between your device and the public Wifi router

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