Why Public WiFi Hotspots Are Trouble Spots for Users

Take a look around any coffee shop, airport, hotel or library, and you’ll quickly notice that Public WiFi hotpots have become the rule, not the exception. See all those people tapping away on their smart phone, tablet or laptop in a one-man/woman quest to check their email, pay their bills, tweet, update their status and so on? They’re your proof. In 2011, the number of WiFi hotspots reached 1.3 million worldwide. By 2015, WiFi users will be able to connect to 5.8 million hotspots, according to a report commissioned by the Wireless Broadband Alliance.

The fact is, if you use a laptop or any kind of WiFi-enabled mobile device away from home, it’s next to impossible to pass up the ease and convenience of connecting to a Public WiFi network every now and again. Unfortunately, not all hotspots are safe for you to do so. As the number of hotspots grows exponentially, so do the security risks for their users. The reason is simple: Because WiFi signals are radio waves, anyone within range of a public WiFi network can listen in on what users are sending and receiving. Unlike home WiFi networks, the vast majority of public WiFi hotspots don’t encrypt the data being transmitted through them. Therefore, when you connect to a hotspot, everything from your email and your bank account and credit card information to your social media content may be fair game for hackers. The 2013 Identity Fraud Report released by Javelin Strategy & Research found that the number of identity fraud victims increased to 12.6 million consumers last year – hitting more than one out of every 20 U.S. consumers. According to the report, smartphone and tablet users were constant targets of cyber criminals using malware and phishing exploits and compromising unsecured WiFi connections to steal users’ sensitive information.
READ MORE: http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/why-public-wifi-hotspots-are-t...