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The Risk of Using Public Wi-Fi Hotspots


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 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!