Information Security at Your Favorite Hotspot

Is your information secure while you have your morning latte?  We all do it, we stop in at our favorite watering hole and while having our coffee we fire up our laptop, iPod, iPad, etc. and do a little surfing.  Well, we might have just exposed our information to hackers.

Most Free WiFi Hotspots Don’t Really Encrypt
If you are connecting to a hotspot that does not require a password you know that it is not secure. But what about the ones that require to to enter a password to connect, aren’t the secure? Well, actually they are not really secure. You see everyone there is using the same password on the same network and thus can see each others data as it flies through the air.

Always Use HTTPS When Available
When ever possible you should use HTTPS connections, specially when you are logging onto a site. The “S” in HTTPS stands for secure and means that any information sent will be encrypted. Many sites will let you set up your account to always use HTTPS, if yours do, you should turn it on. If you don’t have that option al least make sure that your log on is encrypted. And no, just because the password is hidden as you type it does not make it secure. The encryption that password are transmitted with from non HTTPS pages is VERY easy to hack.

Examples for Forcing Secure Connections
Not every site give this option but a couple often used ones that do are:

GMAIL
Go to “Mail Settings” and under the “General” tab go down to “Browser connection:” and select “Always use https.” Then click on “Save Changes.”
Facebook
Go to “Account Settings” under the “Account” menu. Then select “Account Security.” From there check the box “Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) whenever possible.” Don’t forget to click save
Does your company use a VPN?
If your company uses a VPN for connection to its network use it. VPNs use private encrypted connections, tunnels, even when accessing them from an insecure hotspot.

Remember it’s up to you to keep your information secure.