FTC Offers Tips on Wise Use of Wi-Fi Networks

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 15, 2011

News release: “The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, released tips to help people protect their personal information while they use public wireless networks – Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels, universities, and other public places. While convenient, public Wi-Fi networks often are not secure. When using wireless networks, it’s best to send only personal information that is encrypted – either by an encrypted website or a secure network. Encryption scrambles information sent over the internet into a code so that it’s not accessed by others. An encrypted website protects only the information sent to and from that site. A secure wireless network encrypts all the information sent over it. To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the beginning of the web address (the “s” is for secure), and a lock icon at the top or bottom of the browser window. Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of the session isn’t encrypted, the entire account could be vulnerable. Look for https and the lock icon throughout the site, not just at sign in.”

  • OnGuard Online: Tips for Using Public Wireless Networks
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