Many public places allow free Internet Wi-Fi access. These include airports, hotels, libraries, bookstores, shopping centres and various restaurants. These networks are not secure and there is a very high risk of getting hacked. Malware is software that criminals use to gain access to your devices. Unsecure public Wi-Fi networks provide a gateway for hackers to distribute malware via external pop-up windows that are used to advertise deceptive upgrades to your operating system or installations for well-known software such as Microsoft Word, Adobe or Norton Anti-Virus on your computer or device (tablet, phone). Do not click on any of these pop-up windows as they will install malware on your computer/device. Other pop-up windows will claim that you “have a virus on your computer”, it can also ask you to contact a certain phone number (most likely International) and to get in touch with a company so that they can get rid of the “virus” on your computer/device.
Do Not call the listed phone number as it will forward you on to a scam company who will insist on obtaining all of your personal information (including your bank details) so they can further scam you for even more than the computer/device would have initially cost to get it fixed had it actually been broken.
Even if you do not supply them with your bank account details, if you have allowed remote access to your computer/device, they will go through all of your files until they find them. If you tell them that you don’t use banks, they will still snoop around for any of your stored passwords, internet history, your full name, date of birth and address. Another tactic is to convince you to buy iTunes store gift cards and other various gift cards as that credit can still be transferred to them.
Always remain vigilant, for there is no cure once our personal information has been stolen, we can’t get it back but we can only prevent it from happening in the first place. If you think you have been a victim of hacking, you may report it to your local police and internet provider, phone companies and banks.
One way to protect yourself is to use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi but if your personal information has been compromised your internet provider, phone companies and banks can close your accounts and open up new accounts with your new updated unhacked details to help ensure your security and privacy. It may also be best that you change any emails and mobile numbers that were attached to any sim in any device that was hacked. It is best if you immediately update your bank of these changes to your emails and phone numbers so that they can further protect your bank accounts from anyone trying to use them for fraudulent purposes.
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