Nothing goes with a great cup of coffee like the latest news from around the web and free WIFI with every fill up.
“I surf the web at coffee shops. I get a lot of work done at coffee shops,” said Erin Huber, of Lakewood.
She told Fox 8 she knows certain risks come with wandering the web using public WIFI, but she said it’s not something she worries too much about.
“I do everything, banking, personal stuff, work items, yeah,” Huber said.
According to Tom Eston, an internet security consultant for SecureState in Cleveland, Huber is putting herself at great risk.
“There are people who will actually sit at hotels and at coffee shops looking for that information,” he said.
Eston and his colleague, Matt Neely, counsel executives around the world on how to keep criminals from violating their corporate websites. The two consultants also specialize in smartphone security.
“The bad guys are going to move on to somebody else if you just have a little bit of resistance,” Neely told Call For Action.
Both Neely and Eston said the most important thing consumers can do to protect themselves is get rid of their easy four digit passcodes and replace them with five numbers or more.
“Setting a passcode on the device itself can really prevent a lot of the attacks that you can do to a phone,” said Eston.
He and Neely agree the biggest problem for most people is setting the same password for all of their online accounts. If a bad guy gets hold of it, he can go anywhere the consumer goes online, including their bank account.
They also said crooks sometimes sit on stolen passwords for months so cell phone owners won’t figure out how their phones were broken into.
“By changing that password every month, every two months, that at least could change it before they could use it,” said Neely.
Eston told Taylor smartphones recognize previously used wireless connections. The phones sometimes bypass their own wireless connections and automatically reconnect to the public ones they’ve used before. Owners can prevent that by going into their settings and turning off the WIFI they see listed.
They also cautioned the public to think twice before surfing Facebook while using free WIFI. The consultants said it’s like leaving your electronic wallet open for the world to see.
“Once I have those Facebook credentials, I can try Gmail, I can try online banking, I can try different sites that’s a typical technique we see attackers doing,” warned Eston.
Huber was impressed, telling Fox 8 she may rethink her online strategy.