Monday, 20 June 2016 12:42

World Wi-Fi day – 20 June

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There is a day for celebrating or warning about almost anything – why not World Wi-Fi day promoted by the Wireless Broadband Alliance.

According to the Alliance, World Wi-Fi Day is a platform to recognise and celebrate the significant role Wi-Fi is playing in cities and communities around the world by driving exciting and innovative projects to "connect the unconnected".

It is aimed at governments (all levels), telecommunications operators, and technology providers and asks them to pledge their support to making Wi-Fi ubiquitous and hopefully free.

Telstra is offering four days of free Wi-Fi from 17-20 June on Wi-Fi Air or Wi-Fi Fon - be quick.

But it is not always safe using public or free Wi-Fi and Nick FitzGerald, senior research fellow at ESET has some sage advice.

“World Wi-Fi Day marks a significant technological revolution in the way we now communicate, work, and live our lives. Wi-Fi and Internet access has become such an intrinsic part of our day-to-day living that we often take it for granted or don’t think about the effects of using it. With Telstra offering free Wi-Fi on World Wi-Fi Day, we can expect overall usage will be even higher than usual, but smartphone and Internet users shouldn’t forget or overlook security best practices and the risks public Wi-Fi can present.

“Most public Wi-Fi networks are unencrypted and can actually become an easy gateway for hackers to personal or professional information. Because of their ease of use and increasing accessibility, Wi-Fi is often overlooked as a potential major risk to personal safety and data security. To minimise the risks associated with logging onto any public Wi-Fi network, follow these important steps:

  • Check the authenticity of the hotspot and confirm the correct network name and password (if any) with the owner. If there is no WPA or WPA2 password, the connection is unencrypted and, therefore, significantly more risky.
  • Look for HTTPS and ensure the Web pages you visit are encrypted where possible.
  • Patch and update software on a regular basis, particularly your anti-virus solutions.
  • Avoid accessing sensitive information such as your email, online banking and credit cards accounts when using public Wi-Fi.
  • Manually select your Wi-Fi networks, rather than have it automatically connect.
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN), which provide encryption and security across public networks.
  • Use additional security tools, such as Tor and “HTTPS everywhere” browser add-ons, where possible.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible.
  • Log out of each website and account after each use.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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