What you should know before connecting to public Wi-Fi


FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Public Wi-Fi is available almost anywhere you go, but the question stands, is it safe? There are things you should think about before clicking “join network.”

Cyber officials say 70% of tablet owners and 53% of smartphone and mobile users use public Wi-Fi hotspots.

“I always use public Wi-Fi, every time I go out,” Kaylyn Taulton said, in Hagerstown.

Some people say they use public Wi-Fi here and there but understand the risks when they do.

“I do sometimes, I kind of skeptical about it, my pictures my passwords, some things like that if it gets out there because its on my phone so I kind of worry about that,” Tajae Harris said, also in Hagerstown.

While jumping on free public Wi-Fi is convenient, it’s not secure. Most public places offer free Wi-Fi for their guests, but once you join the network, you’re susceptible to wireless hacks.

“If I was at a Starbucks, and they have a Starbucks Wi-Fi, well I can turn my hotspot into saying Starbucks hot spot, you walk in there connect to my hotspot and not their Wi-Fi, and now I have access to your information,” Lee Janes said, from Clark Computer Services.

Cyber officials recommend asking employees about their Wi-Fi to make sure it’s secure, or requesting the right credentials to log in with a user name and password. There are other options for smart device users so you never have to worry about using public Wi-Fi.

“Turn on your own hotspot on your phone because you’re the only one that knows the security for that phone and that will keep you from being vulnerable,” Janes said.

Cyber officials say, sometimes your phone can automatically connect to free Wi-Fi, so when you’re out, make sure the Wi-Fi settings are off.

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