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Now You Know: Using Unsecured Networks

Libraries, airports, hotels, universities, coffee shops, and other public places often provide Wi-Fi hotspots. These networks may or may not require a password to access the network, however, don't be fooled. Most Wi-Fi hotspots don't encrypt the information you send over the internet.

What Does "Unsecured Network" Mean?

Unsecured wireless connections are networks that you can access without a password. There are two types of these networks: ones left open by a business and ones left open by individuals. Networks left open by a business allows their customers to use the Internet within their establishment. Networks left open by individuals are often home networks that have not been secured with a password unintentionally.

What is Encryption?

Encryption scrambles the information you send over the internet into a code so that it's not accessible to others. This is the key to keeping your personal information secure. Data can be encrypted by one of two ways:

  1. An encrypted website which protects only the data you send to and from that website.
  2. A secure Wi-Fi network. which encrypts all the information you send using that network.

Protect Your Data

  • Don't stay signed into your accounts. When you're finished using an account, log out.
  • Use different passwords for different websites.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts the data between your computer and the internet, even on an unsecured network. There are many different VPN service providers and many offer options for mobile devices.
  • Avoid entering anything sensitive, such as bank or credit card information.
  • Look for the https in the URL to know if a site is secure.

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