Wi-Fi Watch

Wi-Fi in airports, hotels, coffee shops and other public places may be convenient, but they're often not secure. Individuals with malicious intent may establish free Wi-Fi networks to eavesdrop on your connection to steal your credentials, financial or other sensitive information, or to inject malware.

Wisdom When Using Wi-Fi

To minimize the risk:

  • Verify that the Wi-Fi hotspot you’re using is fully encrypted by looking for the lock in the lower status bar or “https” in the URL, noting the “s” for security.
  • Only submit personal information through websites that you know are fully encrypted.
  • If you think you’re logged in to a secure site, but discover it’s an un-encrypted page, log out immediately.

Encryption

There are three types of encryption that are commonly used by Wi-Fi networks:

  • WPA - protects your information against common hacking programs
  • WPA2 - offers stronger protection of your information against common hacking programs
  • WEP - may not offer these protections. When in doubt, assume the connection is not secure

Avoid high risk behavior

Convenience now may result in hassles later. Staying permanently signed-in to an account or using the same password on many different sites increases your vulnerability. It is recommended to:

  • Log out when you finish using an account.
  • Create different passwords for each account, so multiple accounts will not be compromised if one account is breached.