[PLUG-TALK] Unsecured Wi-Fi

Rich Shepard rshepard at appl-ecosys.com
Wed Aug 14 06:37:03 PDT 2019

Today's colum by NYT's David Leonhardt is about public wi-fi sites
accessable without passwords. I'd like to read opinions from you experts on
this issue.

Today, you’ll find an excerpt from the latest edition of the Privacy Project
newsletter, written by Charlie Warzel. The Privacy Project is the Opinion
section’s effort to focus on the costs — in lost anonymity and autonomy — of
modern technology.

“A survey popped in my inbox this week with the headline, ‘77 percent of
Americans Blindly Access Public Wi-Fi.’ It was commissioned by a
cybersecurity company called BullGuard; according to its polling, out of
2,000 people, a vast majority don’t bat an eye before logging onto public,
no-password-required Wi-Fi networks. And even though roughly 55 percent said
they knew their data was less secure on open Wi-Fi, a non-trivial percentage
of respondents used credit cards (26 percent) or logged onto their online
bank account (32 percent).

I get it. Sometimes we’re weak and we need an internet connection even if
it’s not the most responsible thing to do (N.B.: it is definitely not the
most responsible thing to do and you should really avoid it if you can!).
Rather than scold, here’s a few things you can do to stay safe.

First, if you can use a virtual private network, do that. Our V.P.N.
explainer is here. Second, try to only use encrypted ‘https’ sites. The
Google Chrome browser will alert you if you’re not on an https site.

In Wired’s guide to public Wi-Fi, it suggests turning off AirDrop or network
sharing so that nobody can have access to your files… Norton also has a
guide to using public Wi-Fi with the helpful suggestion that you should
monitor your Bluetooth connectivity… If you must use public Wi-Fi, don’t go
to sites or do things that might expose especially sensitive information.
That means banking or e-commerce. If it seems risky, it definitely is. Err
on the side of caution.”



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