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You see them everywhere in coffee shops – people working with their laptops or tablets, taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi network there.
But we have information that may change your mind about doing that.
It is a convenience – you can sip that double mocha latte while you catch up on your e-mail. However, Timothy Caminos of the Hawaii Better Business Bureau has a word of warning.
“The most important thing for consumers to be aware of, is that when they’re on an open network, generally it’s not secure. Anyone that has access to that network can possibly have access to their computer, their information,” he says.
That’s not the only way your computer information might be compromised.
“There definitely have been incidents where scammers or hackers will leave a USB device on the table, hoping that someone will plug it in. Once they do that, they can upload a virus to the computer, so that later it can be accessed or hacked by another individual,” Caminos says.
Caminos advises setting up a virtual private network to avoid having your computer hacked.
“A lot of times, what we recommend is just not accessing any free wi-fi without knowing who else is on it, what kind of security it has, those kinds of things,” he says.
And he says you should not allow your computer to automatically seek out a Wi-Fi hotspot . Better safe than sorry.