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Friday, December 27, 2013

a FREE WiFi "WARNING" -- Not MS related

Not MS related But Truly IMPORTANT to Know

I obtained this from the State of Florida

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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:
  • Beware of Evil-twin hot spots. Scammers will sometimes set up a Wi-Fi hotspot near a business that already provides Wi-Fi to its customers. They may even use the same Wi-Fi name as the legitimate internet connection offered by the business in order to lure victims into connecting to their network. If you see two hot spots with the same name, make sure you check the network description of each one. A normal wireless network will simply say "wireless network" - make sure to avoid any networks that say "computer-to-computer" network.

  • Disable automatic connections. Make sure that your computer has not been configured to automatically connect to any wireless networks within your range. Otherwise, your computer may automatically connect to a bogus Wi-Fi network.

  • Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you regularly access online accounts through Wi-Fi hotspots, use a virtual private network. VPNs encrypt traffic between your computer and the internet, even on unsecured networks. You can obtain a personal VPN account from a VPN service provider. In addition, some organizations create VPNs to provide secure, remote access for their employees.

For additional information, contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 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.


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