Computer Crimes -- Is WiFi Safe?

Know the risks of computer crimes when using WiFi hotspots

WiFi hotspots are popping up everywhere and computer crimes linked to WiFi are popping up just as fast. On one hand, you certainly don't want to go without the convenience, but on the other hand, you can't afford to put yourself at risk for a computer cyber crime. To stay safe and still use WiFi, you should know a few things.

Why is WiFi Unsafe?

WiFi hotspots are unsecured and unencrypted. Because of this, the connections are open making it easy for hackers to intercept your traffic and steal your information. Thieves do this in one of three ways -- man-in-the-middle, sniffing, and the low-tech method of just plain being nosey.

Nosey people involve those close to you looking over your shoulder and watching what you're doing. This one is easy to solve but sometimes you let your guard down and forget. Always remember when working online at a hotspot to sit with your screen facing away from others. If possible, sit with your back against a wall.

The man-in-the-middle technique means the thief intercepts your between the computer and a wireless router. If the thief is successful, he can collect all your personal information and transfer it to his.

Sniffing is done with sniffer software. This device can read, monitor and capture your information. This is very dangerous because thieves can get all your information including passwords, user names, personal information and credit card numbers.

Protect Yourself

Protecting yourself from nosey people is easy. The other two methods are a little more difficult but it's not impossible to protect yourself from these types of computer crimes.

*Never enter important information (social security number, credit card number, passwords) unless you are on a secured connection.

*When you're not using your computer, unhook your wireless adapter.

*Check the URL. If the URL has an 's' after the http (https://), it is a secure connection.

*Disable file sharing.

*Install a firewall on your computer.

The convenience of WiFi is nice and something everyone uses. Continue to use WiFi, but stay aware and stay safe from computer crimes by following these tips.

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