7:25 P.M.DEC. 30, 2013
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Free Wi-Fi May Cost Your Your Identity
These days, everyone is on-the-go. As a result, free Wi-Fi is now offered in many public places such as hotels, airports and coffee shops. This has made it easier than ever to stay connected while you travel, but not without risk. Most individuals don’t think twice about accessing an open network, even to make a purchase or check a bank balance. However looks can be deceiving and not all Wi-Fi hotspots are legitimate. Fraudulent individuals can set up a real Wi-Fi hotspot in a public area such as a café, with the sole purpose of stealing personal information.
How It Works
Fraudsters set up ad-hoc networks or computer-to-computer networks from a laptop in public areas, particularly airports, to gain access to others’ personal devices. They use labels like "Free Wi-Fi" or "Wireless Connection" to appear legitimate. When using your personal computer or smart phone in a public area, you may choose to connect to the network, not knowing it is not legitimate, or your device may automatically connect. Once the connection is established, a fraudster can see everything you browse online, including personal or financial information. Furthermore, if your computer allows file sharing, attackers can access personal files and data on your computer and may even install malicious software.
Protect Yourself The easiest way to protect yourself from Wi-Fi fraud is to avoid connecting your personal device to any free wireless networks. If you decide to use a free Wi-Fi connection, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:
Source:For additional information, contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at www.800helpfla.com or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) within Florida, (850) 410-3800 from outside of Florida or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español.