Is Free Wi-Fi Really Free?

The United States currently hosts thousands of free Wi-Fi locations. The Open Wi-Fi website quotes the number as 66,198 with new hotspots developing every day. These locations include coffee shops, libraries, restaurants and the like. Frugal consumers love to take their laptops and tablets into this location because of the free Internet connection, but some of them may be getting more than they bargained for. Some of them may be getting infiltrated, infected and monitored.
How Safe Is a Wi-Fi Connection?
Wi-Fi connections aren’t as safe as some people tend to believe they are. The biggest problem with Wi-Fi connection is the data encyrptoin. The primary technologies that people use to encrypt wireless data are WEP and WPA. WPA stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access and WEP stands for Wireless Equivalent Privacy. WPA is the most secure choice of the two choices. However, they are not implemented many times because of the complex nature of the technologies. The result is severe user vulnerability.
Why Public Wi-Fi Connections Are Dangerous
Many mishaps and destructive processes can occur when encryption is not present. One thing that can happen to a user is the loss of privacy. Hackers can monitor the webistes that they frequent, which can be disturbing for people who appreicate their privacy. Intruders can steal important documents, as well. They can access pictures, videos, text files and more. Another thing that intruders can do is capture the login information of a person’s frequented sites. Any websites that the person does not visit frequently may be subject to hacking an intrusion through the use of keyloggers. Malicious persons can invade someone’s mobile devices, as well. So much is a stake when a person is not careful on the Internet.
How to Prevent Hacking During a Wi-Fi Connection
One thing that a user can do to stay safe is enable two-step authentication. Two-step authentication requires a person to have to use two pieces of identification to log into an important website. Changing one’s passwords frequently can help elminate security issues, as well. A good rule-of-thumb practice is to change the passwords at least once every three months. Finally, a Wi-Fi user will want to install an antivirus program to avoid interference. The user can avoid or minimize security breaches by following the previously mentioned tips. Taking precautionary steps can prevent irreparable damage from occurring.