5 On Your Side

The do's and don'ts of using free public Wi-Fi

Posted July 12

Travelers often tap into free Wi-Fi, but they rarely ask questions about the security of those connections.

Consumer Reports is warning people to be careful about what they're looking at while on free connections.

At the top of the list – never check your bank accounts or anything with sensitive personal information on a public Wi-Fi network.

The Better Business Bureau also says to watch out for generic networks, ones that say "Free Public Wi-Fi."

Ask the business for the name of the connection they're offering.

Scammers can use fake Wi-Fi hotspots to steal personal information and even access your devices.

Consumer Reports says to look at the web address and make sure it starts with "HTTPS" and not just "HTTP." The S means the data leaving your computer or device is being sent securely.

A padlock symbol is also another sign of a secure connection.

Turning off settings such as "network discovery" and "file sharing" also makes it more difficult for people near you to see your data.

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