Why You Shouldn’t Use Public Wi-Fi to Shop Online

People are more suspicious of public Wi-Fi networks than of public toilet seats, according to a recent opinion poll, but that doesn’t stop us from using them.

Despite the digital risks from the theft of your personal data, including passwords and private pictures, people still choose convenience.

Because Wi-Fi hotspots do not require authentication to get online, hackers have the opportunity to get unrestricted access to unsecured devices on that network.

In a study by privatewifi.com, nearly three-quarters of people admitted to connecting to their personal email while on public Wi-Fi at the typical spots: hotels, airports, and coffee shops.

About one in ten in the study admitted to shopping or doing online banking while using public Wi-Fi.

So what’s the best way to protect yourself against Wi-Fi threats? 

Luke Bencie, a global security consultant, suggests following these security tips to keep unwanted eyes out of your devices:

· Don’t use public Wi-Fi to shop online, log in to your financial institution, or access other sensitive sites — ever

· Implement two-factor authentication when logging into sensitive sites, so even if malicious individuals have the passwords to your bank, social media, or email, they won’t be able to log in

· Only visit websites with HTTPS encryption when in public places, as opposed to lesser-protected HTTP addresses

· Buy an unlimited data plan for your device and stop using public Wi-Fi altogether

Read more tips on keeping your devices safe at HRB.org (subscription may be required).