Schemes & Rip Offs: Wi-Fi Warning - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Schemes & Rip Offs: Wi-Fi Warning

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Whether you're killing time waiting for a coffee, checking your email at the airport or maybe loading your tailgate pics to Facebook from the Bison game.  If you're using a public wireless internet connection or "Wi-Fi" you could be giving hackers access to your accounts.

With more and more people buying smartphones or tablet computers and more and more places offering free access to the internet on public Wi-Fi networks, going online has never been easier or more dangerous.

Experts say you need to be extra careful when using public Wi-Fi areas.  Checking your bank account on a shopping break could let some Grinch steal your cash this Christmas.

The basic scam here is called a "man in the middle attack."

Hackers set up at an airport, mall or coffee shop and create their own fake network.  They give it some simple sounding name like "Mall Wi-Fi."

If people log in, the hackers can now record and track everything you do online including your passwords and account numbers.

"You can still get online.  You'll still be able to go to your web sites and see your bank account information," said LifeLock CEO Todd Davis.  "But remember, everything that's passing back and for the between you, over the internet to other retailers or the bank, the man in the middle see and collects that information."@

Davis and other experts say there are a few things you can do to protect yourself:@

- If you're at an airport, or a public spot, find out who the Wi-Fi provider is, and use that.

- If it costs some money, pay the money.

- Change your password every now and then, and use different passwords for different accounts.

- If you do go online using a public Wi-Fi, just keep in mind that someone may be watching you and surf appropriately.

There are a few ways to tweak some settings and add an extra layer of protection when using public Wi-Fi spots.  We found some easy to follow instructions from LifeHacker.com.

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