By Tiffany Williams, Managing Executive, FineMark National Bank & Trust office at Shell Point Retirement Community
Many clients ask us if it’s safe to use the free Wi-Fi access (Wireless Networking technology) at coffee shops and libraries. If you have a laptop, tablet, or smart phone with wireless connectivity, you can access the Internet in all kinds of places. While you don’t need to avoid it completely, consider the following tips to help you protect your privacy while enjoying the convenience of public Wi-Fi access.
1. Don’t make online purchases or access your bank account.
- If you don’t want someone getting a hold of your banking information or credit card number, it’s best not to access your accounts when connected to public Wi-Fi.
2. Double-check the network name.
- Sometimes thieves will set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots with legitimate sounding names. You access the fake network and they get access to your data. Double-check the network name with an employee before logging on.
3. Turn off auto-connect.
- Many smart phones have a setting that will allow these devices to automatically connect to any open Wi-Fi network. Check your phone’s settings to make sure this feature is turned off.
4. Switch up your passwords.
- Don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts. This way if one account is compromised, the rest will stay safe.
5. Look for the lock.
- A locked padlock in the address bar of your web browser means the information submitted to that particular site is encrypted. While this provides an extra layer of security when connected to public Wi-Fi, it’s not fail safe. Don’t share information online that you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with the person sitting at the table next to you.
FineMark National Bank & Trust has an office on The Island at Shell Point Retirement Community. If you have questions about this article, contact us by phone at (239) 461-5999.