Public Wi-Fi connections are a convenient tool, but it’s important for consumers to take steps to protect their devices and personal information, such as online bank accounts or passwords, which can be collected without their knowledge when using these networks.
Connecting to open networks without checking their origins makes it easy for customers to mistake a hacker’s fake hotspot, disguised to resemble a business’s hotspot, for the real thing. Avoid this trap by asking an employee for the name or SSID (Service Set Identifier) of the network or by using a personal mobile hotspot. Do not connect to supposedly “free” networks that ask for a credit card payment or other personal information.
For business travelers especially, public Wi-Fi in airports makes it easy to stay connected to the office while on the road. After using a public network, users should secure their device by setting it to “forget” any networks to which it was previously connected and turn off the device’s Wi-Fi connection.
Also, make sure antivirus and antispyware software is up to date on all of devices, including smartphones. By downloading apps such as Verizon Mobile Security and Lookout, users can help protect themselves from malicious activities.