OK, maybe “mugged” isn’t the right word, but being “hacked” is, and that can certainly feel the same way. So why can you be hacked at a Starbucks or any other public place you access free Wi-Fi? These Wi-Fi access points are not secure, allowing hackers to see and take any passwords or credit card information you may enter.
One thing you can do using the free Wi-Fi is to be sure never to enter your passwords, ID, etc. to gain access to accounts. You can watch a video or read the news using free Wi-Fi, but keep your online activities very limited.
Want an even better solution? Use a VPN (virtual private network).
What’s a VPN? Andrew Mason from Cisco provides a great definition referenced in Wikipedia:
“A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running across the VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network.”
There are many good providers of VPN’s out there – do a little research and choose one that’s right for you.
Or if you just want a simpler way to keep your online information safe and secure? Login at home or work. Keep Starbucks as your happy, work-free, coffee zone.