Starbucks Launches Digital Network – 6 Steps to Safer WiFi Use

Digital networks, sometimes called public WiFi networks, allow you to connect wherever you are with ease. Now, Starbuck’s has announced they will be offering internet access, and “and a wide array of great, premium online content” to consumers in all of their shops.

“The vision,” says Starbucks’s Vice President of Digital Ventures Adam Brotman, “is for Starbucks Digital Network to be a digital version of the community cork board that’s in all of our stores.”

With ease and convenience of online access comes risk; but 6 simple steps can significantly increase your safety when browsing on WiFi networks.

  1. Connect to a legitimate WiFi network. Criminals frequently set up fairly convincing fake networks that incorporate the name of the coffee shop, hotel, campground, airport, park, or other place to trick you into using their network instead. If you get fooled into logging onto their network, they’ll steal the information off your laptop, tablet or phone.
    1. Solution: Ask for the location’s WiFi access name, and use their access keys to avoid being duped onto a malicious copycat network.
    2. Solution: If you don’t know the company, organization, or individual offering the WiFi access, be very cautious. Unscrupulous parties may be tempted to grab your information.
  2. Even legitimate networks may be compromised. Some online actions should never be done when using a public network.
    1. Solution: Never use a public WiFi service for any type of financial transaction or other type of sensitive information transfer.
  3. Update your anti-virus and anti-malware tools if they aren’t current. Whenever and wherever you log onto the internet, you need protection against viruses, spyware and other malware.
    1. Solution: If cost is preventing you from protecting your computer, search online for good free anti-virus and anti-malware options.
  4. Control your access points. Leaving your Bluetooth connection open lets criminals find and connect to your computer or phone.
    1. Solution: Change your setting to not discoverable, or turn it off.
  5. Remember, you’re in public. Big screens may make your information easy reading for those around you and they may take full advantage of the opportunity.
    1. Consider where you’re sitting and who may be able to see your screen or your hands while typing in a password. Consider whether someone outside the shop can see your screen if your back is to a window. Place yourself in a way that keeps your information private, and check periodically to see if your privacy is still maintained.
  6. Learn about their privacy policy. Most users assume that their information will not be reused in any fashion, but this is often not the case. Networks may sell information about the users that log on through their networks. It is always critical to understand how your information may be used – or abused – by any network or website you visit.
    1. Solution: Don’t assume. Ask about the privacy policy of any WiFi operator you use… and then take one further precaution. Read the privacy policy of any premium content offered through the service. Users often believe that an overarching privacy policy is in place when in reality the websites they offer are not likely to adhere to the same standard.

Linda

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