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public wi-fi
Kim's column

Opinion: Summer Travel – How safe is public Wi-Fi

We all like to connect to free Wi-Fi if we can. It saves your data (unless you have unlimited data, then you never need it). But it has its risks, as people keep finding out.

So how safe is public Wi-Fi? The answer is, it’s not safe at all.

But, as you vacation this summer, here are four steps to reduce your risks.

First, before logging on to any public Wi-Fi, whether it’s free or paid, in a hotel room or in the airport, always turn file sharing off. Mac or Windows – it doesn’t matter.

Next, keep your smartphone and computer permanently set to not automatically connect to any Wi-Fi network, unless you say that it’s OK.

Third, and again before you connect, be certain that whatever Wi-Fi net you’re about to log in to is a legitimate network of the hotel or airport, and not something phony set up by a hacker to mimic a legitimate Wi-Fi signal and collect your passwords and data.

Fourth, watch your shoulder. “Shoulder Surfers” are like pickpockets. They look over your shoulder to get your user name and password.

And even after you take all these precautions, never bank or shop from a public Wi-Fi system.

Listen to Kim Komando’s take on public Wi-Fi:

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