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Things to Consider When You Connect to a Free Wi-Fi Network!

8/3/2015

Tips for using free Wi-Fi!

With ever-rising data plan packages, checking for available free Wi-Fi networks while out at a concert, ball-game or hotel conference room to upload your pics to Instagram or send emails to co-workers is the first thing we do to help us save money and not go over on our data plan.

For the same reason you wouldn’t hitch a ride in a car with just anyone you shouldn’t just connect to any available free Wi-Fi network.  Below we’ve listed some of the ways that free Wi-Fi isn’t truly free of hackers. We encourage you to think twice about connecting to “unknown” networks and to depend on your providers’ networks (or at the very least trusted networks) whenever possible.

MAN-IN-THE-MIDDLE
The hacker positions himself between you and your Wi-Fi connection point. So instead of talking directly with the hotspot, you're sending your information to the hacker, who then sends and receives data impersonating you. Every piece of information you're sending out on the internet are all under the control of the hacker.

EVIL TWIN
A hacker sets up a Wi-Fi access point with the same name as a legitimate network you have connected to previously and compels your computer or phone to connect to it automatically without your consent.

WAR DRIVING
Using a laptop, smartphone or tablet, “war drivers” use commonly available software to troll neighborhoods to find open or poorly protected Wi-Fi networks. Using these tactics, scammers can access your personal and financial information and use it to steal your assets and your identity.

To protect yourself, here are four things to NEVER do when using public Wi-Fi:

  1. Don’t fall for a fake: Con artists often set up unsecure networks with names similar to a legitimate coffee shop, hotel or other free Wi-Fi network.
  2. Mind your business: Don't access your email, online bank or credit card accounts using public Wi-Fi.
  3. Watch your settings: Don't let your mobile device automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi.
  4. Stick to your cell: Don’t surf using an unknown public network if the website requires sensitive information - like online shopping. Your cell phone network is safer.

​Helping you stay safe and providing you with information to help you safeguard your information is important to us. If you feel you may have connected to an unsafe Wi-Fi network and that your financial accounts with Shore to Shore may have been compromised, please contact a representative immediately.

Note: these helpful tips were provided by aarp.org.



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