Public Service Announcement - Public Wifi

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Wireless symbol shown above is from The Noun Project collection and can be found at http://thenounproject.com/

A couple weeks ago at the iPad Study Hall I taught in Farmington, one of the students asked how safe it was to use his iPad on public wifi. I thought this was one of the best questions asked all night. My answer went something like this:

I would not do anything involving banking or credit card numbers on public wifi. The reason for this is that someone that knows what they are doing could potentially see everything that you are up to online. Basic web surfing should be safe but anything that requires a password might be vulnerable if someone was watching. If you login to your Gmail and happen to use the same username and password combination for other accounts like Paypal, Amazon, or WellsFargo a hacker may gain access to everything you do online.

I didn't think too much of the topic until I stumbled across the following video from CNN Money. Once I saw this video I thought it would be worth writing a blog post on the topic.

Some of the tips in the video were:

  • Find out who the provider of wifi is. If it cost money pay for it.
  • Change your password occasionally.
  • Use different passwords for different accounts.
  • Understand that if you are using a public wifi that someone could be watching.

I am not trying to scare anyone by writing this blog post. Just hoping to make you a more informed user of technology.

If you or someone you know needs help getting the most out of technology please contact me.