Public WiFi is Notoriously Risky!

If you intend to bring your internet devices with you when you travel, you must consider the inherent dangers of Public WiFi.

Public Wi-Fi Is Not Safe
Public Wi-Fi You Must Protect Your Data

Pubic WiFi is Not a Private Secure Internet Connection

Therefore anyone can access the network and anyone can eavesdrop on what’s being transmitted via Public WiFi. People tend to let their guard down while traveling. Security is put on the back burner and we tend to do things that increase our chances of getting hacked.

According to a survey conducted by Morning Consult for IBM Security, 70% of travelers take unnecessary risks while on the road. They connect to public WiFi, charge a device on a public USB station, or enable auto-connect on their wireless devices.

Hackers Set Up Fake Public WiFi Hot Spots

A skilled Hacker will typically give their fake WiFi Network a name that’s similar to an authentic connection. If it’s a hotel, they will choose a name with the hotel’s name in it or if it’s the airport, they will choose a network name that includes the airport’s name or the name of the airlines. The same goes for coffee shops or other internet hubs.

If you are inadvertently fooled by a hacker’s fake WiFi Network, you’re now giving that network permission to start taking data off your device. Furthermore, if your device is set to auto-connect, you might be leaking your personal data and not even know it.

You can’t eliminate all digital threats when you’re on vacation, but you can significantly reduce your chances of having a problem by following these tips.


  • Any device you use, outside your own home network, including your smartphone, laptop or tablet should have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) installed. A VPN encrypts the data leaving your device.
  • Before turning the VPN on, be sure to shut off WiFi and close all apps. After connecting to Wi-Fi, via your VPN, it’s safe to open up any app.
  • Never have your devices set to auto-connect. If your device automatically connects to a free WiFi Hotspot, your device is vulnerable to hacking.
  • Keep the WiFi on your smartphone turned off until you need it. Cellphone data is encrypted when it travels via your phone’s mobile network.
  • Never bring your business laptop with you when on vacation. Bring a spare one that has no corporate data on it. If you need to access corporate data or your company email, do it through the cloud.

Remember, we’re more vulnerable to digital security intrusions when we travel. Don’t opt for convenience over security.

Here is the link to the IBM Survey

Read a previous article of mine about how to keep your online data safe



Facebook Privacy Scandal  –  Who’s at Fault?

The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg faced a grilling during Capital Hill hearings about the recent Facebook privacy scandal. It appears that Facebook allowed a third-party company, Cambridge Analytica, to plunder the personal information of 87 million Facebook users. This is one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history.

Cambridge Analytica was able to pull off this data harvesting, under the guise of an app, that appeared to be just an innocent social media quiz.  The app “This is Your Digital Life” paid Facebook for the ability to invite users to take quizzes.  Downloading the app resulted in you granting them full access to your public profile information. If that weren’t bad enough, once a user granted them access, the app was able to view the information of the their Facebook friends too.  Any and all information that was available in a user’s public profile was likely compromised.

Next, the collected data (via the quiz app) was in turn shared with the political research firm Cambridge Analytica.  So, they were able to extract all that Facebook data, under the premise that they were collecting information for academic purposes.

Facebook has since banned the app and is in the process of informing users if their personal information was wrongly accessed.  But, whether your information was accessed or not, the lesson learned here is that you should always be mindful of what you share on your social media profiles.


Facebook Privacy Scandal
Why is he so smug?


During the Joint Commerce and Judiciary Committee hearing, Zuckerberg is quoted as saying: “I would hope that what we do with user data is not surprising to people”.  It was however, a surprising revelation to most Facebook users. Facebook users hadn’t considered the fact that they are NOT Facebook’s customer.  Advertisers are in fact Facebook’s actual customers.

When a user doesn’t pay a fee to use an app or a social media platform, then the user’s personal data is the ‘product’ being sold. Everything we click on and everything we buy or read is tracked, catalogued, analyzed and then sold.  All the information that is collected about us is being harvested and then sold to advertisers, research firms and data brokers.


Users actually pay for the ‘free’ use of Facebook, by giving up their data. That is why it’s so important to examine your profile privacy settings.  Realize that there is a big difference between Facebook’s “profile privacy” settings and their “application privacy” settings.  Always be aware of what personal information any downloaded app or social media platform can view and use from your account.  Never put too much info about yourself out there. AND read those “Terms and Policies” notices before clicking “Yes”.

Lastly, I would refrain from clicking on those Facebook “LIKE” buttons.  Consumer lawyer and privacy expert Joel Winston wrote an excellent must read article in a column for NBC.

Here’s what he had to say about “Likes”

“On the basis of ten “Likes”, researchers from Cambridge Analytica have demonstrated that Facebook knows you better than your work colleagues. After 70 “Likes,” Facebook knows you better than your friends. Accumulate 150 “Likes,” and Facebook knows you better than your parents. Complete 300 “Likes” and Facebook knows you better than your spouse or partner. Record more than 500 honest “Likes” and Facebook can even know you better than you know yourself.”

You can learn how you can remove apps and websites, if you no longer want them to have access to your Facebook information, by logging in to your Facebook account and going to their help section.