The Perils of using Facebook on Public WiFi

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The next time you to connect to Facebook on a public hotspot, take a second to think about your security. What you probably just intended as a quick log on to update your status or check your account may have perilous consequence.

You may not realize it, but you are extremely vulnerable with you log into Facebook through a public wireless connection. This can lead to identity theft or even credit fraud.

Connecting to a public WiFi network that offers free Internet access any Facebook user incredibly vulnerable to hacking attacks. Unfortunately, many users assume using public wireless is the same as logging into our home or office networks. But public WiFi is not secure at all. You are entirely responsible for protecting their data and communications.

In recent years, two hacking tools specifically designed to help hackers easily hijack another user’s Facebook account have come to light: Firesheep and FaceNiff. As these tools — one for computers and another for android mobile devices, respectively — have entered the spotlight, even Facebook recommends that all users, especially those connecting on a public hotspots, use HTTPS for added security. Using this encrypted protocol is an important step for keeping your Facebook account safe from being hacked on an open or poorly secured wireless network.

However, there is more that you can do to keep your account credentials and communications private when using WiFi: use a virtual private network (VPN). Although the secure browsing of HTTPS mentioned above is better than nothing, it still leaves you exposed to other kinds of hacking attempts.

There are so many ways your private information can be compromised while using social media sites like Facebook. Since WiFi signals are just radio waves, anyone within range can “listen in” to what you’re doing on Facebook. All it takes is a laptop and simple, readily available software and a hacker can easily view.

The best way to protect and secure your sensitive information is to use a VPN, like PRIVATE WiFi, which encrypts the data moving to and from your laptop. The encryption protects all your Internet communication from being intercepted by others in WiFi hotspots. By using a VPN, you can stop hacking software like Firesheep and FaceNiff dead in its tracks, which will keep all your private Facebook activities secured.

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Jared Howe

Jared Howe is PRIVATE WiFi’s Senior Manager, Product Marketing Communications. Working in high tech for over 15 years, Jared currently lives in Seattle with his wife, daughter, and their two cats.