Public Wi-Fi can leave you vulnerable to hackers

Cell phones and portable laptops have become part of the fabric of society. While they have made life more convenient, using Wi-Fi to run apps and access the internet can be risky while you are out and about.

Warning: anyone with a WiFi-equipped laptop can download free Wi-Fi monitoring programs and monitor what you're doing on the net from up to 100 feet away.

So it is best to avoid using public Wi-Fi, but if you must, the Federal Trade Commission offers this advice: send information only to sites that are fully encrypted and avoid using mobile apps that require personal or financial information. You can download free encryption software from T-Mobile and AT&T.

Change the settings on your mobile device so it does not automatically connect to a nearby Wi-Fi. Hackers make fake Wi-Fi access points that look like legitimate networks, but if you connect to it they can direct you to a fake website where they can obtain passwords and other sensitive information.

Also, log off when you are done using an account and do not use the same password on multiple websites and always have lock-screen security on to prevent anyone from accessing your information.

In a study by three-quarters of people surveyed admitted to connecting to their personal E-mail while on public Wi-Fi, even though they acknowledged that they knew there was a risk.
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