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Tuesday Tech Tip: The Risks of Shopping on Public Wi-Fi

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Online shopping is quickly becoming the preferred way to shop. People would rather use their devices to look for a specific item rather than meander for hours through stores where they might not find what they need. However, if you use public Wi-Fi to shop, you should know that it will increase the risk of criminals attempting to steal your confidential data.

It may be tempting to shop on public Wi-Fi while waiting in an airport or sitting in a coffee shop, but you should never enter your sensitive information (credit card numbers and contact information) on an unsecured network. Public Wi-Fi spots aren’t secure and anyone can access them, meaning that the guy sitting next to you in Starbucks could view the information you enter in your online shopping sites.

When you use public Wi-Fi, it should never be for something that requires you to input your private information. Anytime you access the Internet via Wi-Fi, you’re transmitting packets of information that can be stolen by cybercriminals with the right know-how. The information that you enter into the credit card or address line is no exception. It’s vulnerable to anyone else who’s using the public Wi-Fi, meaning that your personal information could very likely end up in the hands of a cybercriminal. This leaves you vulnerable to credit card theft, or worse; after all, there could be more menacing consequences if the hacker obtains your home address.

If you must use public Wi-Fi to shop, there are precautions you should take. Instead of buying these items over public Wi-Fi, save the URL or website on your device so you can fill out the sensitive information on a private Wi-Fi connection. You can also encrypt the information being transferred. This way, the wrong people can’t gain access to your private information unless they have the encryption key.

It is always important to be vigilant about the information you share over the Internet, and it’s worth taking a few precautions to stay safe.

To learn more about encryption and staying safe while shopping online, contact the experts at Colorado Computer Support at (719) 439-0599.

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