August 30, 2013
Ever notice how many people walk down the street completely engrossed in their smartphones and tablets? I fully expect to see one of them to walk into a light post one day.
Although it's great having access to email, social networking and online shopping anywhere, anytime, such convenience comes with a certain amount of risk, according to Jennifer Fischer, Head of Americas Payment System Security, Visa Inc. "Unless you're hyper-vigilant about using secure networks and hack-proof passwords, someone sitting at the next table – or halfway around the world – could be watching your every move online and stealing valuable personal and financial information right off your device," says Fischer.
"There are two primary potential dangers with Wi-Fi," notes Fischer. "The first is using an unsecured network – as many public hotspots are. With a little know-how and the right tools, cybercriminals could easily eavesdrop on your online activity.
"The second hazard is phony wireless networks that impersonate legitimate Wi-Fi hot spots. You think you're logged onto a trusted network, but instead a cybercriminal has hijacked your session and can see all the private information you access or input."
When using public Wi-Fi networks, always follow these safety precautions:
Cybercrime is a booming business. According to the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, its global price tag topped $388 billion last year, more than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined. It impacts individuals, small and large businesses and governments alike.
On October 2, 2013, Visa Inc. is hosting its fifth Global Security Summit in Washington, D.C. "We're bringing together experts from the worlds of government, law enforcement, technology, finance, retail commerce and academia to explore how industry and government can collaborate to address cyber security," says Fischer. "Those interested in attending can register for free at www.visasecuritysummit.com."
Being able to access the Internet anywhere anytime can be a great convenience and time-saver. Just make sure you know what precautions to take when using public Wi-Fi networks.
Recent Practical Money Matters