How cyberthieves snag your info at Wi-Fi hotspots

Starbucks is one of the places with Wi-Fi where you should be careful of what information you access. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Cybercriminals are everywhere. There is no reason to make their hacking any easier, but people who use free, Wi-Fi hotspots at hotels, airports or coffee shops might be doing just that.

Internet users who spend time on public wireless connections should remind themselves that they are likely unprotected from those thieves who are constantly working to pry information from them.

Information on shared networks is readily available for hackers.

According to ThreatMetrix, one way Wi-Fi users can protect themselves is to utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN). And of course, be very cautious about what is accessed while in public, Mashable reports.

Industrious thieves have been known to leave malicious USB drives out on tables and wait for unwitting victims to plug them into their devices.

Cyberthieves also may take photos or video of people as they enter credit card numbers and other private information into their computers while in public.

Here are some other safety tips to consider:

  • Install anti-virus software and regularly update it.
  • Use your own secure network.
  • Don’t wave your smartphone or credit cards around.
  • Beware of suspicious USB drives.

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