With the announcement that "The Starbucks Digital Network" is launching in all 6,800 company-operated U.S. stores, providing Starbucks customers with a wide array of free, premium online content, Norton wants to take the opportunity to provide consumers with some basic tips on how to stay safe when using all Wi-Fi networks.
"While Wi-Fi networks are a great resource when you're away from home, they inherently can carry some risks as well," says Marian Merritt, Norton's Internet Safety Advocate. "Use some common sense and don't just hop on a network with a strong signal. Find out which one is actually coming from the coffee shop or airport lounge you're sitting in. With a little extra precaution, you'll avoid so-called 'evil twin' networks that trick travelers into connecting to unknown networks."1. Pay attention to your surroundings: Remember, if you can read his newspaper, the guy sitting next to you can also read your laptop screen! Just because you're in your "home away from home," doesn't mean you're not still in public. Use a privacy screen for extra security.
2. Beware of "Evil Twins": Some Wi-Fi networks
can appear to be legitimate, but are not. Criminals can create
"dummy" networks or websites that contain the name of the
establishment you're in, but actually will direct your information to their own
computer. If you always use the access keys provided by the business, you'll be
protected.3. Always assume your Wi-Fi connections are being eavesdropped on: Never enter sensitive
data (bank account information, social security numbers, etc.) when browsing
the Web via a public Wi-Fi network.
"You should also avoid banking, shopping or updating your investment strategy until you're back at home," advises Merritt.
4. Set any Bluetooth devices to "hidden," not "discoverable": If you do not use the Bluetooth function, turn it off altogether.
5. Keep your security software current and active: Remember: No matter where you're connected, PCs are vulnerable to the same viruses, Trojans, and worms as your home computer. Use a trusted security software and keep it updated.