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Updated: Wednesday, 03 Oct 2012, 1:14 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 03 Oct 2012, 12:29 PM EDT
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - As more and more businesses, and even whole communities, offer "Free Wi-Fi", it's getting a lot easier for users to stay connected to the internet and a lot easier for hackers to try to steal information. Mark Wilson, Business Integration Manager from BayPort Credit Union, stopped by The Hampton Roads Show to talk about keeping your information safe when using WiFi.
It's important to know when you are connected to an unsecured network as opposed to a secure network. Unsecured networks generally do not require passwords or any extra security features that can be found on all modern Wi-Fi devices which means anyone can capture any information sent or received over that network. You can generally find these networks at local restaurants and coffee shops. Secure networks use passwords and additional security protocols, such as WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) or WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) to help encrypt the data sent over the wireless connection. Right now, the most up-to-date wireless security protocol is called WPA2, which provides better protection than WEP or WPA. Information sent over a secure network is protected against being read by hackers.
If all you are doing is updating Facebook, checking your personal email or just surfing the internet, you probably do not need to worry about using an open network although anytime you log into a website, there is a risk of having your username and password captured on an unsecured or open network. BUT, if you are accessing your credit union or bank account, or doing any sort of online shopping that involves providing a credit card number, you should be very cautious and make sure you are using a secure Wi-Fi connection.
The best advice for mobile users is to only connect to Wi-Fi networks that you trust.
· Maintain a list of wireless connections on your device so you don't accidentally connect to one that just pops up.
· Disconnect your wireless connection when you are finished using it.
· Make sure that your connection is secure, especially if you are shopping or accessing your financial accounts.
Stop by any of the 15 BayPort Credit Union locations across Hampton Roads.
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