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The Hidden Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

In a world that is becoming more and more reliant on access to the internet, public wi-fi has almost become a necessity. Public wi-fi hotpots can be found almost everywhere now – in coffee shops, hotels and airports – you can find plenty of places to log on to the internet with your mobile device. But this free access doesn’t necessarily come without a price.

Wi-fi Hotspots Risks

Along with convenience, public wi-fi hotspots can also provide an easy way for identity thieves and cybercriminals to track what you’re doing online, and steal your logins or personal information if you’re not careful. Cybercriminals are able to do all that because wi-fi uses radio waves. The openness of these signals at public hotspots, combined with the right eavesdropping software, can allow others to take information without your knowledge – much like someone overhearing a private conversation in a crowded restaurant.

Don’t assume that a public wi-fi network is safe and secure simply because it has a password. Remember, these passwords are shared, so anyone nearby can easily hop onto the network and see what you’re doing.

Tips to Use with Public Wi-Fi

Watch What Sites You Visit

Hold off on visiting any sites that require you to log in with a username and password, like your Union Community Bank accounts or any other financial institutions, social networking sites or webmail. Play it safe by saving visits to such sites until you’re on a secure, private network.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

As you have your laptop open in a coffee shop, hotel lobby, or airport, someone may be secretly observing. Take a few moments to make sure no “shoulder surfers” are watching what you type. To help combat this, you might want to consider purchasing a privacy screen to take along with you, or at least sit with your laptop screen turned away from everyone else.

Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

VPNs create a network-within-a-network solution to keep everything you do on public Wi-Fi private. Even on a password-protected network, people can still intercept the signal. VPNs can help make you invisible, allowing you to check sites without worry.

We Keep You Safe

It can be both fun and relaxing to sit back and surf the Web while you enjoy a latte at a coffee shop. And sometimes it’s important to check your bank account, webmail, or social sites while traveling. But keep in mind that connecting to public wi-fi hotspots can pose a risk. Be mindful of your surfing habits and use these tips to help stay safe and secure online while using public wi-fi. At Union Community Bank we are committed to keeping you safe – if you would like to learn more about our mobile banking security you can read more or contact a Union Trusted Advisor today.

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