Aug 9, 2018
It’s surprisingly easy to spy on someone or steal their username and password, just by being on the same network. Don’t take that chance. Stick with trusted ways to get online.
Using a public Wi-Fi network puts your devices and information at risk. Cyber-criminals can create “rogue access points” that provide free hot spots from which to steal your data. Unfortunately, this gives access any information you provide, such as credit card numbers, confidential information, or passwords. This is commonly done at hotels, coffee shops, amusement parks, and wherever there are crowds. Only use trusted public Wi-Fi that is confirmed by the business. Even still, this data is not secure and can be viewed by others. Online shopping on public Wi-Fi is a no, no!
“PUBLIC WI-FI IS INHERENTLY UNSECURE… USE IT WITH THE PREMISE THAT EVERYTHING YOU DO IS VISIBLE TO A THIRD-PARTY STRANGER”
–Kevin Clark, Monmouth County prosecutor, cybercrime expert
Data service over the cellular network is more secure than public Wi-Fi. First of all, cellular communications are encrypted. Your information is scrambled over the air and not readable to other users. Second, Wi-Fi uses routers (receiver equipment) that can be tampered with. Cellular connects directly to a cellular tower that is much harder to tamper with. If you are away from a trusted Wi-Fi network (e.g. Chapman Open or eduroam), then use your phone’s data plan or fire up a hotspot for your computer. Just be sure you don’t exceed your data plan!
Okay, we admit this is not for everyone. However, if you REALLY need a secure Internet connection on-the-go, then use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) over cellular service. A VPN is a special app that encrypts the data that leaves your computer. In fact, there are many VPNs that provide 256-bit encryption that is difficult for the government agencies to break. If you value your safety, make sure you get a VPN that offers high-grade protection regardless of whether you’re using 4G or WiFi for Internet access.
Want to learn more about trusted networks, check out this 5 minute video!