Are you a Mac or a PC user? Are you using your computer away from home quite often — in a crowded place such as office or in a cafeteria or other public places like McDonalds or Starbucks or some sort of fast-food places? Of course YES — there are often big Yesses!
Even further — do you browse Macys or JCPenny or Michael Kore or Gucci or other name brand stores on the go? May be via smartphones or tablet or using your personal computer while staying in the park? And even shop there if you saw something interesting or something that wins your heart right the moment you see it?
STOP! Your are potentially becoming the victim of a hacker sniffing and intercepting the crowded network or the public WiFi your gadget or computer just picked up.
Thousands and thousands of people are getting victim of an identity theft, credit card theft, confidential information theft and worst yet — loose thousands of dollars and even do not notice they just did.
Stop! And review how this is possible?
You are using your gadget such as Android phone or iPhone or Windows phone in a public place and may not notice that you have a public WiFi just been picked up by your device. Either you were connected voluntarily to that network before or the network may not require password authentication (such network is called unsecured network or password-less guest network). Hackers are quite familiar to such network and they can easily confiscate such network to intercept your device connection and then monitor the network traffic your device is happily enjoying.
The moment you are connected to any of your shopping sites, some hacking applications a hacker is using to monitor the public network alerts the hacker that one of the users of the network is potentially in a shopping zone.
Now that the hacker is aware of this scenario, he then begins to target you. Unfortunately, you begin to login to your favorite shopping store and complete the transaction by purchasing stuff that won your heart, the hackers is happy as well by obtaining all the info it can use to log in to your own account at that shopping site. The tragedy may soon begin.
Are you kidding? Is it really possible?
Identity fraud is a global issue. The study found that 18 percent of the identity fraud using U.S. credit cards especially while doing transaction online.
Online theft in 2015 appeared not to have changed substantially versus 2014. The total number of victims remained steady at 13.1 million, and the total fraud amount fell slightly to $15 billion. This is a pretty huge amount that had been stolen via identity theft or online hacking or phishing attempts or by several means of fraudulent activities using internet and network technology.
How to take preventive measures?
Since anyone can be potentially hacked online while being connected to any public or unsecured WiFi networks, you must act to follow some preventive measures if you consider to stay safe. Simple steps will keep you safer. And some minor ignorance will most certainly expose you to the highest risks possible.
Cool mantra: never get connected to the public WiFi network – the safest measure.
Here are some standard measures that will keep your online activities safer even when you are connected to an unsecured network or Public WiFi:
- Activate your Mac or PC firewall.
- And activate it to block incoming connections.
- Install Anti-Malware application and keep up-to-date.
- Only use Guest user while browsing web.
- Do not do shopping — big No No.
- Stop mobile banking.
- Do not login to any of your online account.
- Use a VPN service and keep it ON during web-browsing.
- Activate script blocker.
- Activate add blocker.
- Do not visit free music or movie sites.
- Do not download or install anything.
- Cancel any popped up message that asks your permission.
- Do not bookmark or save links.
- Quit web-browser after you are done browsing.
- Do not open Email application.
- Do not attempt to read, write and send any email.
- Do not access App store, Google Play or any other web-stores.
- Do not install any extension or add-on or plugins.
- Do not interact even if your browser is hijacked and information inquired.
- Disconnect from the public network and turn off your device if something seems suspicious.
Am I safe if I follow all these?
Not quite! You are not safer even-though you are following all these basics. Why? It is because you do not know whether your computer already is infected. You do not know if your Mac or PC has a Spyware or Trojan or virus or key-logger or any other form of Malware. If your computer does foster Malware in the system, there is no way you can stay safer. Once the Malware finds confidential information, it will most certainly dispatch it to its master. Then the odds begin to take place. Unless it happens to you, you won’t simply believe it. When it just happens to you, you can’t even believe that it just happened to you.
What should I do in such?
Stop worrying. You can simply make sure if your device inherits Malware. The best advice is to take your Mac or PC to a professional malware screening and removal service shop. The professionals will run anti-Malware, anti-rootkit, anti-piracy, anti-virus, anti-phishing, anti-keylogger, anti-hack, anti-spyware kind of preventive tools to make sure that your device is clean from any of the Malware infections. Once it is assured (or cleaned when found), you may sincerely follow the suggestions aforementioned to stay safer in the future.
If you are interested to allow screening of your Mac or PC in store or online, the service is available here.