The pitfalls of public WiFi

Things to tell members to do to protect themselves and your credit union.

To help your staff help your members learn how to more safely use public WiFi, first explain how public WiFi is different from other internet connections and then provide steps they can take to protect themselves, suggests our most recent edition of First Line of Defense, offered by CUES in partnership with TRC Interactive, Inc.

The Security of Public WiFi

Many locations—from retail stores to coffee houses to airports—offer free public Wi-Fi. Because WiFi allows people to connect their laptops, PCs or mobile devices to the internet without a physical wire, it is highly convenient; however, public WiFi networks may not be secure since they either do not require a password or provide the same generic password to all customers for access. Using these networks to do certain things online may expose personal and banking information to scammers looking to steal names, Social Security numbers and account numbers.

Credit union staff should encourage members to avoid public Wi-Fi to make purchases online, log in to financial accounts, or access other sites that have sensitive information about them. It’s also a good idea to stick with websites that have “https” encryption. (The “s” means secure.)


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