We are all on the go and when we do get a break, many of us catch up on the latest news and e-mails, both professional and personal from our portable devices: smartphones, laptops or tablets. But have you ever considered what happens to the safety of our personal information when we are in a public place?

It’s nice to have Wi-Fi available, but beware. Hackers can target unsecured Wi-Fi networks to capture users’ passwords, gain access to financial accounts and other sensitive data while using public networks. Wi-Fi users should be aware of the risks and take precautions to safeguard against hackers.

Next time you’re surfing and sipping your coffee, remember these 5 ways to keep your personal information safe.

1. It’s best to save your financial transactions for when you get to a secured home connection. If you must use another Wi-Fi, send personal information and make credit card transactions only to websites that you trust and that are fully encrypted (hint: look for https at the start of the web address.)

2. When not in use, log out of the sites you visit, turn off Wi-Fi connections and never leave your computer unattended with sensitive information on the screen.

3. For added safety, install browser security add-ons or plug-ins on your device and consider using a virtual private network (VPN) that adds encryption between your device and the Internet—even over unsecured networks.

4. Make sure your computer has the latest firewall software, security patches and software updates. Follow these steps to check your security settings:

Windows users go to: Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Firewall > Select On

Mac users go to: System Preferences > Sharing > Uncheck the box next to File Sharing

5. Choose the most secure network connection, confirm the name with the establishment and turn off your computer’s file sharing.

These are some of the great ways to help protect yourself and your valuable information from hackers, identity theft and the havoc they cause.

 


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