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How to kick People off your Wi-Fi

If someone is “borrowing” your Wi-Fi service, there’s more to this than just the nerve of someone secretly mooching off of you.

2WTheir use of your service could interfere with bandwidth and mess up your connection. If they’re a bad guy hacker or even a skeevy child porn peddling pedophile and get caught, it can be traced to your connection—and you will have a lot of explaining to do to the authorities when they bang on your door at 4am with a battering ram.

How can you tell if someone’s riding on your signal?

  • Log into your router to see what’s connected.
  • For less techy people, use the free Wireless Network Watcher to get the list of connected devices.
  • Do all the devices on the list belong to you? Any that don’t? Ones that don’t are thieves. You will not know, of course, how often they mooch off you unless you bring up the list regularly.
  • Make a record of this device/gadget list (or take a screenshot).

How do you figure out whom the user is?

  • Their devices name may coincide with their real name, address or other identifying information.
  • But knowing who they are isn’t important. Just encrypt your Wi-Fi network, as this will usually stop the mooching.

Encryption is key.

  • Keep in mind a savvy Wi-Fi thief can get past WEP encryption. If this is the case, change your password and make sure you are at least on WPA encryption. Then recheck the device list.

Upgrade and update.

  • Unfortunately, many routers have security flaws and hackers can still sneak in through a backdoor in your router.
  • Make a backup of your settings, take screenshots if necessary. You will need to reset the router to factory settings, update all software and firmware, and then set things up all over again.
  • Bear in mind that changing the encryption password means you will have to update the password on every one of your devices.

What if there’s no intruder but your connection is still slow?

  • Evaluate your Internet speed: Do a search for “internet speed test” and see what you are supposed to be getting.
  • Check your “throughput”. Throughput is the measurement of data speeds within your home network. You can check your throughput with numerous online tools. This will show if your Wi-Fi speed is slower than the Internet speed.
  • Determine how many devices your router will support. Some routers bog down after 5-7 devices. Many homes may have as many as 10-20 devices connected and not realize it. If so, you may have too many devices in the household. Disconnect all but one, then check the speed. If this is the cause, then you need a new router that can handle multiple connections.
  • If you only have a few devices connected, however, then you may need a modem upgrade or router upgrade. Consumers already know their devices constantly need upgrading so shouldn’t be surprised that their modem and router need to be swapped out every couple three years.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to TheBestCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention.

Save Money with the Nighthawk 2-in-1 cable modem-router

If you are like most people, there are several devices in your home that fight for WiFi connections at any given time. This slows your network, and gives you a shoddy experience. Instead, look into upgrading your system immediately and save some cash too.

NHThe Nighthawk is a 2-in-1 cable modem-router that not only saves power, it also saves space. This modem-router features a WiFi router with a DOCSIS® 3.0 cable modem, which supports most data plans from major U.S. Internet providers.

This is a modem with serious power and benefits. The cable company issued modem is rent-able for anywhere from $5 to $10 a month depending on the policy of the provider. That adds up fast. Cutting these fees saves you a lot of money, as rental fees can range from $60 to $120 a year for only one piece of equipment, not to mention, two. The other worrisome issue is that most of the equipment from an ISP has low speeds and/or quality. The Nighthawk 2-in-1 changes this, however.

The features of the Nighthawk 2-in-1 include:

  • A retail price of about $280, which means it pays for itself in a bit more than two years.
  • More money savings each month when compared to other modem-routers.
  • WiFi speeds of up to 1.9Gbps and modem speeds of up to 960Mbps.
  • Compatibility with Google Fiber and other ultra-high speed equipment. Even if you don’t have these capabilities in your area now, they will likely come in the near future.

The Nighthawk also grows along with you and will help to keep your network-setup in top form. In tests performed with the Nighthawk, speeds reached 315Mbps, even though some wired equipment tops out at about 300Mbps. The unit we tested was for Comcast XFINITY, and it is only compatible with this ISP.

As Internet speeds increase, more customers will need a DOCSIS 3.0 compatible modem-router to take advantage of the speed. The Nighthawk does not disappoint in this area at all, and the features were as advertised. We were able to test these speeds when our entire team was working, and on an average day, we would test out at Comcast’s busiest time. It was perfect at work, and we would imagine that it would be just as perfect at home, too.

One of my favorite software packages for the Nighthawk and most Netgear routers is their Genie software. Anyone can use it, and it is easy and simple to use for anyone. This is an excellent 2-in-1 combination software that you can use to control all of your devices, and is custom-made for both the router and modem. You can even use the Netgear Genie on a laptop or smart phone thanks to a downloadable app, which allows you to make changes, reset your system or simply check on how it is running.

If you are looking for a good investment, a modem-router is a good financial choice. This is especially a good decision if currently paying rental fees. You are already paying for your Internet connection, so why not make the investment into it in order to get the best experience possible?

Though there are several 2-in-1 modem-routers on the market, the Nighthawk is certainly my favorite. It is consistent, can be upgraded, and with the addition of Genie software, customizing and troubleshooting are a breeze.

Robert Siciliano is a personal privacy, security and identity theft expert. See him discussing identity theft prevention. Disclosures.

Protect your small business against viruses with these tips

It is September and it’s National Preparedness Month—a great time to get involved in the safety of your community. Make plans to stay safe, and this includes maintaining ongoing communications. National Preparedness Month culminates September 30th with National PrepareAthon! Day.

6DI learned in high school biology class that one of the things that distinguishes life forms from inanimate objects is that living things replicate. Therefore, a computer virus is, well, alive; it replicates itself. It’s alive enough to cause billions of dollars of destruction from the time it attacks a computer network until the disaster is cleaned up.

But just what is a computer virus?

Not only does this nasty program file duplicate itself, but it can spread to other computers without human involvement.

Unlike a virus with DNA, a tech virus usually doesn’t produce symptoms to give you an early warning. But it’s hell-bent on harming your network for financial gain.

Though a virus is malicious, it may impersonate something harmless, which is why the user lets it in. One type of virus is spyware— which allows your computer to run smoothly as always, while the spyware enables criminals to watch your login activities.

Though viruses often corrupt in secret, others can produce symptoms including:

  • Computer programs and smartphone applications open and close spontaneously.
  • Computer runs very slowly for no apparent reason.
  • Someone you know emails you about the global email you recently sent out promoting a product you have nothing to do with.

You can protect yourself or your business from a virus in the following ways:

  • A malment is a common way to let a virus into your computer. This is a malicious attachment that, when clicked, downloads the virus. The email message tricks employees into clicking that attachment. Unless it’s been confirmed by the sender that you’ll be receiving an attachment shortly, never open attachments. Or at a minimum, scan them with antivirus software.
  • Never open an attachment sent out of the blue by the IRS, company bank, credit union, medical carrier, etc.
  • Apply the above rules to links inside emails. A “phishing” email is designed to look legitimate, like it came from the bank. Click on the link and a virus is released. Or, the link takes you to a site that convinces you to update some login credentials—letting the hacker know your personal information.
  • Never use public Wi-Fi unless you have a VPN (virtual private network) encryption software.
  • All devices should have continually updated security software including a firewall.
  • Browser and operating system as well should be updated with the latest versions.
  • Prevent unauthorized installations by setting up administrative rights.
  • Employees, from the ground to the top, should be aggressively trained in these measures as well as bring-your-own-device protocols.
  • Back up your data. Why? Because when all else fails and your data and devices have been destroyed by malware, a cloud backup allows you to not only recover all your data, but it helps you sleep at night.

The prevention tactics above apply to businesses and really, everyone. Employees should be rigorously trained in how malware works and other tricks that cyber thieves use. To learn more about preparing your small business against viruses, download Carbonite’s e-book, “5 Things Small Businesses Need to Know about Disaster Recovery.”

#1 Best Selling Author Robert Siciliano CSP, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is a United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla Staff Officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security whose motto is Semper Paratus (Always Ready). He is a four time Boston Marathoner, Private Investigator and is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering people so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. As a Certified Speaking Professional his “tell it like it is” style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders. Disclosures.

Phishing Scams: Don’t Click that Link!

You’re sitting on your front porch. You see a stranger walking towards your property. You have no idea whom he is. But he’s nicely dressed. He asks to come inside your house and look through your bank account records, view your checkbook routing number and account number, and jot down the 16-digit numbers of your credit cards. Hey, he also wants to write down all your passwords.

13DYou say, “Sure! Come on in!”

Is this something you’d be crazy enough to do? Of course not!

But it’s possible that you’ve already done it! That’s right: You’ve freely given out usernames, passwords and other information in response to an e-mail asking for this information.

A common scam is for a crook to send out thousands of “phishing” e-mails. These are designed to look like the sender is your bank, UPS, Microsoft, PayPal, Facebook, etc.

The message lures the recipient into clicking a link that either leads to a page where they then are tricked into entering sensitive information or that link is infected and downloads malware to the users’ device.

The cybercriminal then has enough of your information to raid your PayPal or bank account and open up a new line of credit—in your name.

The message typically says that the account holder’s account is about to be suspended or deactivated due to (fill in the blank; crooks name a variety of reasons), and that to avoid this, the account holder must immediately re-enter login information or something like that.

Sometimes a phishing e-mail is an announcement that the recipient has won a big prize and must fill out a form to collect it. Look for emails from FedEx or UPS requiring you to click a link. This link may be infected.

Aside from the ridiculousness of some subject lines (e.g., “You’ve Won!” or “Urgent: Your Account Is in Danger of Being Deactivated”), many phishing e-mails look legitimate.

If you receive an e-mail from a company that services you in any way, simply phone them before you click on any link. If you click any of the links you could end up with malware.

Watch this video to learn about how to avoid phishing:

https://youtu.be/c-6nD3JnZ24

Save yourself the time and just call the company. But you don’t even have to do that. Just ignore these e-mails; delete them. Nobody ever got in trouble for doing this. If a legitimate company wants your attention, you’ll most likely receive the message via snail mail, though they may also call.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Safety Expert to Intel Security. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!

Don’t’s and Do’s when using Public Wi-Fi

Curl up in a chair at your favorite coffee house, the aroma of premium coffee filling the air, take a few sips of your 700 calorie latte, and then enter cyberspace. Little do you know that you could have a stalker. Or two. Or 3,000. Because public Wi-Fi is there for the picking for hackers. Online transmissions can be intercepted. The credit card number that you enter onto that retailer’s site can be “seen.”

3WDon’t Do These at a Public Wi-Fi Site

  • Never leave your spot without your device on you—not even for a moment. You may come back and still see your computer where you left it…but a thief may have installed a keylogger into it to capture your keystrokes.
  • Do not e-mail messages of a sensitive or serious nature.
  • When your computer begins seeking out a network to connect to…do not let it just drift to the first one it wants; see if you can choose one.
  • Don’t leave on your file sharing.
  • If you’re not using your wireless card, then do not leave it on.
  • Don’t do banking or any other sensitive activities.
  • Don’t position your device so that someone nearby can see the screen.

Yes, Do These when at a Public Wi-Fi Spot

  • Look around before you settle into a nice spot.
  • Sit somewhere so that your back is facing a wall.
  • Assume all Wi-Fi links are suspicious—kind of like assuming all drivers are drunk whenever you go out driving. A wireless link may have been set up by a hacker.
  • See if you can confirm that a given Wi-Fi link is legitimate.
  • Assume that if the connection name is similar to the Wi-Fi spot, that this could mean that the hacker was clever. Inquire of the manager of the coffee shop, hotel, etc., for information about their Wi-Fi access point.
  • You should consider using your cell phone for sensitive activities such as online shopping.
  • But cell phone or not, see if you could avoid visiting sites that can make it easier for hackers to nab your data—sites such as banking, social media and any site where your credit card information is stored.

Use a VPN. This stands for virtual private network. What a VPN does is create an impervious tunnel through which your data travels. Hackers cannot penetrate this tunnel, nor can they “see” through it. Your data is safe. The tunnel encrypts all of your banking and other sensitive transactions, as well as sensitive e-mail communications, plus downloads, you name it. With a virtual private network, you will not have to worry about a thief or snoop intercepting your transmissions.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

Be Cautious When Using Wi-Fi

The proliferation of mobile devices means that we can work or play online from almost anywhere, so it’s no surprise that public Wi-Fi networks have become more common. From hotels and coffee shops, to universities and city centers, Wi-Fi is widely available, but is connecting to these networks safe?

4WIf you were carrying on a highly sensitive conversation on a park bench with your closest friend, would you want everyone in the immediate area to gather around and eavesdrop?

That’s essentially what happens—or what could happen—when you communicate online using public Wi-Fi, such as at coffee houses, hotels and airports.

Non-secured public Wi-Fi makes it easy for hackers to read your email correspondence and the information you type to get into your critical accounts.

Of course, with a VPN, your online activities will be unintelligible to eavesdroppers. A virtual private network will encrypt everything you do so that hackers can’t make sense of it. A VPN is a service you can use when accessing public Wi-Fi. A VPN will also prevent exposing your IP address.

So, if you are going to connect to public Wi-Fi, make sure that you take some steps to keep your device and information safe.

Follow these tips to stay protected:

  • Turn off sharing—Keep others from accessing your computer and files by turning off sharing when you are on a public network. This can be accomplished by visiting your computer’s control panel (on Windows), or System Preferences (Mac OS X).
  • Use a “Virtual Private Network”—If you frequently use public Wi-Fi, it might be a good idea to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is like your own private network you can access from anywhere. You can subscribe to VPN services for a low monthly fee.
  • Avoid information-sensitive sites—When using public Wi-Fi, try to avoid logging in to banking and shopping sites where you share your personal and financial information. Only do these transactions from a trusted connection, such as your protected home network.
  • Use sites that start with “https”—Sites that begin with “https” instead of just “http” use encryption to protect the information you send. Look for this level of security on sites where you plan to enter login and other personal information.
  • Use multi-factor authentication – Find out which of your accounts offer two-factor authentication. This would make it next to impossible for a hacker, who has your username and password, to bust into your account—unless he had your phone in his hand—the phone that the two-factor is set up with.
  • Always log out – Don’t just click or close out the tab of the account when you’re done; log off first, then close the tab
  • Avoid automatically connecting to hotspots—Keep your computer or device from automatically connecting to available Wi-Fi hotspots to reduce the chances of connecting to a malicious hotspot set up to steal information. Make sure your device is set up so that it doesn’t automatically reconnect to that WiFi when within range. For example, your home WiFi may be called “Netgear” and will reconnect to “Netgear” anywhere, which might be a hackers connection who can snoop on your data traffic.

PC:
For Windows
Make sure no “Connect Automatically” boxes are checked.
Or, go to the control panel, then network sharing center, then click the network name
Hit wireless properties.
Uncheck “Connect automatically when this network is in range.

For Mac:
Go to system preferences, then network
Under the Wi-Fi section hit the advanced button.
Uncheck “Remember networks this computer has joined.”

Mobile:
For iOS:
Go to settings, select the Wi-Fi network, then hit forget this network.
For Android:
Get into your Wi-Fi network list, hit the network name and select forget network.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Safety Expert to Intel Security. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!

Risks of Public WiFi

Wired internet or wireless WiFi, the warnings are out there: Don’t visit any websites that you have important accounts with when using a public computer (hotel, airport, café, etc.).

3WVisiting even a more trivial account, such as an online community for cheese lovers, could sink you—in that a cyber thief might get your username and password—which are the same ones you have for your bank account, PayPal and Facebook.

Why is public Wi-Fi such a bad thing for shopping and banking and other such activities?

Snooperama

  • As already touched on, a roving hacker could glean your username and password, or credit card number and its three-digit security code when you do online shopping, because the cyber communications of public Wi-Fi are not encrypted. They are not protected or scrambled up. The cybersnoop can thus see what everyone’s passwords, usernames and account information is.
  • Hackers can also see what sites you’re visiting and what you’re typing on those sites.

If you plan on using public Wi-Fi, make sure your device has full protective software including a firewall (and you should always have these anyways).

When connecting to public Wi-Fi, always choose the “public” network rather than the “home” or “work” options when using Windows. This will prevent Windows from sharing files.

If you absolutely must conduct work or personal business while on public Wi-Fi, then use a VPN: virtual private network; it scrambles communication into gibberish by encrypting it.

Malicious Locations for the Wi-Fi

Don’t assume that a hacker is far away when he snoops for something to steal. For instance, the “hotspot” to connect online may have been set up by a thief like a spider in a web waiting for flies. Additional ways a hotspot could be malicious:

  • HTTP connections can be hijacked by software called sslstrip. This software generates copycat links—a domain name that looks just like the authentic one, but appearances are deceiving because these imposter domain names use different characters.
  • Hackers can use the Wi-Fi Pineapple to set up the attacks mentioned above. The Pineapple is on the lookout for when a laptop is trying to connect to a network it recalls, barges in and claims the summoning. Pineapple is now in a position to perform additional attacks.

Hack Prevention

  • Avoid online activity using public Wi-Fi with important accounts. If their site has HTTPS with the padlock icon there is a degree of security here, however, the rule still stands: no public Wi-Fi for important accounts. The only exception to this hard rule is if you have the VPN.
  • Using a VPN will encrypt all of your online activities, freeing you to use public Wi-Fi for anything. Hotspot Shield is a VPN provider that’s compatible with iOS, Android, PC and Mac. It runs quietly in the background.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

Things You should and shouldn’t do on Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is the location where you can get online: airport, airplane, coffee house, hotel, motel and more. Many people don’t give this a second thought, unaware of how risky this really is.

4WPublic Wi-Fi is very non-secure, a goldmine for hackers who want to steal your identity and commit fraud, destroy your website, you name it. They can do this many ways, including intercepting your activity with an imposter website where you input login details—that the hacker then obtains.

But public Wi-Fi will always be risky as long as its proprietors, such as the coffee house, find that enabling security features hampers ease of use for patrons.

So even if you don’t do banking and shopping online, the wrong person can still see, word-for-word, your e-mail correspondence.

Do’s at a Public Wi-Fi

  • Make sure your devices are installed with antivirus, antimalware and a firewall, all updated.
  • Prior to when you anticipate using public Wi-Fi, consider the nature and amount of sensitive data on your device, maybe remove it (and back it up).
  • Make sure the hotspot is legitimate; speak to the proprietor. Cybercriminals could set up hotspots as “evil twins”.
  • Sit against a wall so that nobody can spy what’s on your screen.
  • If sitting against a wall is not possible, be aware of who’s around you. Cover your hand when typing in login information.
  • Use a privacy screen; this makes it impossible for a “shoulder surfer” to see what’s on your screen while they peak over your shoulder or from the side.
  • Use a VPN: virtual private network. It will encrypt all of your online transactions, making them impossible to decipher by cyber criminals, whether it’s login information, usernames, passwords or e-mail correspondence. Even your IP address will be concealed. Hotspot Shield is a VPN provider, and it’s compatible with Mac, PC, iOS and Android, quietly running in the background after it’s installed.

Don’t’s at a Public Wi-Fi

  • Don’t let your device connect with the first network that “takes.” Instead, select it.
  • Do not keep your wireless card on if you’re not using it.
  • Do not keep your file sharing on.
  • Can you not wait till you’re in a secure location to do banking and other business transactions? No matter how bored you are waiting at the airport or wherever, do not do banking and other sensitive activities.
  • Don’t engage in any serious or sensitive e-mail communications.
  • Never leave your devices unattended for a single second. Not only can someone walk off with them, but a thief can insert a keylogger that records keystrokes.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

5 Ways to prevent Airline WiFi from Hackers

When getting on a flight many business professionals connect online. It’s common these days to see a number of people on an airplane busy at their laptops—business-looking people dressed in suits, eyes pasted to spreadsheets, charts, graphs and other grinding tasks.

4WHow many know that their company’s data can be snatched out of thin air, literally?

Here’s the thing: If you are connecting to WiFi on a plane and have all these company secrets on your device and all this client data, there is a solid chance you are risking information. Savvy business travelers may not be savvy about security—or, specifically, the lack thereof in airplane WiFi.

When logging onto an airplane WiFi, there isn’t any encryption preventing other users from seeing your data. The majority of the security in airplane WiFi is built into the payment system to protect your credit card. Beyond that, you’re pretty much left to the dogs.

The plane’s WiFi service comes in cheap (something like $12.95), but with a cost: no protection. Other people can see your or your company’s trade secrets and other private information. If the airline boasts there IS security, they mean for your credit card. Not much more.

Another thing travelers usually don’t know is that when they boot up their device, they may be tricked into selecting a particular connection (wireless network), without knowing that this network has been set in place by a hacker, they call this an “evil twin”. If you connect to it, your data is his to see.

GoGo is an in-flight WiFi service that a researcher says was using phony Google SSL certificates that interfered with passengers’ ability to get video streaming services but more alarming it was reported it also allowed data leakage. In short, GoGo made it look like this was coming from Google.

GoGo was called on this. In a report on theregister.co.uk, GoGo’s chief technology officer explains that the company’s feature did not snatch data from passengers, and that it only served the purpose of blocking streaming services. They said that GoGo simply wanted to upgrade network capacity for air travel passengers, and that they don’t support video streaming. Still, not cool.

How can airline passengers protect their data?

  • When you’re not using WiFi, when it’s time to nap or read some nonsense about the Kardashians in a print magazine, go to your wireless manager and disable the WiFi connection with a right-click. Your laptop may also have a keyboard key to do this.
  • If you must absolutely use public Wi-Fi for activities involving highly sensitive information, make sure that the Wi-Fi network is secure and trusted.
  • Before you get onto any website, check the URL field to make sure that there is an “https” (not “http”) AND a padlock icon; these indicate the site is secure. Also check the security certificate.
  • Make sure that every device that you own has full protection such as antivirus and a firewall.
  • You can also use encryption. Encryption scrambles your data so that it appears to be gibberish to any hackers or snoops wanting to get ahold of it. Encryption comes in the form of a virtual private network, such as that offered by Hotspot Shield. It’s free and will scramble (encrypt) all of your online activity such as things you download, purchases, etc. This provides an impenetrable shield that guards your online actions.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Hackers on Airline WiFi

When getting on a flight many business professionals connect online. It’s common these days to see a number of people on an airplane busy at their laptops—business-looking people dressed in suits, eyes pasted to spreadsheets, charts, graphs and other grinding tasks.

4WHow many know that their company’s data can be snatched out of thin air, literally?

Here’s the thing: If you are connecting to WiFi on a plane and have all these company secrets on your device and all this client data, there is a solid chance you are risking information. Savvy business travelers may not be savvy about security—or, specifically, the lack thereof in airplane WiFi.

When logging onto an airplane WiFi, there isn’t any encryption preventing other users from seeing your data. The majority of the security in airplane WiFi is built into the payment system to protect your credit card. Beyond that, you’re pretty much left to the dogs.

The plane’s WiFi service comes in cheap (something like $12.95), but with a cost: no protection. Other people can see your or your company’s trade secrets and other private information. If the airline boasts there IS security, they mean for your credit card. Not much more.

Another thing travelers usually don’t know is that when they boot up their device, they may be tricked into selecting a particular connection (wireless network), without knowing that this network has been set in place by a hacker, they call this an “evil twin”. If you connect to it, your data is his to see.

GoGo is an in-flight WiFi service that a researcher says was using phony Google SSL certificates that interfered with passengers’ ability to get video streaming services but more alarming it was reported it also allowed data leakage. In short, GoGo made it look like this was coming from Google.

GoGo was called on this. In a report on theregister.co.uk, GoGo’s chief technology officer explains that the company’s feature did not snatch data from passengers, and that it only served the purpose of blocking streaming services. They said that GoGo simply wanted to upgrade network capacity for air travel passengers, and that they don’t support video streaming. Still, not cool.

How can airline passengers protect their data?

  • When you’re not using WiFi, when it’s time to nap or read some nonsense about the Kardashians in a print magazine, go to your wireless manager and disable the WiFi connection with a right-click. Your laptop may also have a keyboard key to do this.
  • If you must absolutely use public Wi-Fi for activities involving highly sensitive information, make sure that the Wi-Fi network is secure and trusted.
  • Before you get onto any website, check the URL field to make sure that there is an “https” (not “http”) AND a padlock icon; these indicate the site is secure. Also check the security certificate.
  • Make sure that every device that you own has full protection such as antivirus and a firewall.
  • You can also use encryption. Encryption scrambles your data so that it appears to be gibberish to any hackers or snoops wanting to get ahold of it. Encryption comes in the form of a virtual private network, such as that offered by Hotspot Shield. It’s free and will scramble (encrypt) all of your online activity such as things you download, purchases, etc. This provides an impenetrable shield that guards your online actions.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.