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Avoid Business Transactions Over Unsecured Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi is extremely convenient and very tempting to use.  But should you?  This fits into the category of “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” topics.

Sure it’s convenient to park yourself in the local coffee shop, connect to their free Wi-Fi and take care of your banking.  But while you’re doing this, someone at the back table — or sitting behind the wheel of their car in the parking lot, can be acting as go-between for your transaction, harvesting your credentials.

Is it likely?

Do you want / need to take the risk is the better question.

Any Wi-Fi that does not require a password or key to connect to is extremely unsafe.  Literally anyone can connect to it and start scanning the traffic going through it.

“Using unsecured public Wi-Fi can come with risks,” said Anurag Sharma, principal of WithumSmith+Brown’s cybersecurity consulting practice. “Hackers can act as the middle man between you and the connection point, seeing all traffic and files you’re sharing.”

Some useful guidelines:

  • Always use a VPN connection when possible. This will ensure a secure connection.
  • Avoid accessing sensitive websites, such as your bank, investment portfolio or a CRM that includes customer data.
  • On a laptop, always choose the connection type as public. This disables network file sharing.
  • See to it that your email application (such as Outlook) is configured to encrypt communication with Exchange if you are on a corporate network.

There are lots of VPN tools you can use.  Many antivirus products have them available.  OpenVPN is an excellent choice.  PrivateTunnel is one of their offerings.

Name of author

Name: Wizard

Short Bio: The Computer Wizard (TCW). TCW was founded by Warren P. Harris in 1994 to service and repair computers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Relocating the business to Plano, Texas in 1999, TCW continued to flourish when an unfortunate loss of data for a wedding Mr. Harris photographed, caused him to research data recovery options. Realizing he would have to either pay someone to recover the photos or find out how to do it himself, the rest, as they say "is history". Approached by a friend who was a Private Investigator in 2006, Mr. Harris studied for his Investigator's license and began honing his skills in Computer Forensics. The company was renamed DFW Computer Integration in 2015.

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