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The Risk of Using Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

GRAPHIC: FREE WI-FI IS NOT SAFE WI-FI

Cybercriminals can easily steal passwords and personal information from public networks. Students rely on Wi-Fi hotspots, like at their favorite coffee shop, all the time. What’s not to love? Free Wi-Fi, delicious coffee, and a cozy place to study seems like a treat. But coffee shops and other places with public Wi-Fi networks are extremely susceptible to cyberattacks.

Free Wi-Fi is not safe Wi-Fi.

The typical “Pascals Free Wi-Fi” network name seems harmless, but hackers could use this to get access to your bank info, GatorLink, and/or social media accounts. If you have an assignment due at 11:59 p.m. and connecting to free Wi-Fi at Karma Cream is your only option, then confirm the official network name with an employee. This will ensure that you are connecting to the business’s network and not a hacker’s similarly-named network listed in your connection options. Free Wi-Fi is to keep customers entertained at an establishment, so use public networks to read articles or listen to music–not to do email, shop, or check your bank balance.

Visit https://security.ufl.edu/ for additional tips on protecting yourself and your information, especially when using a mobile device. It’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and we want all Gators to surf safe!