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AARP: Use "Free" Wi-Fi with Caution

AARP has launched a new campaign aimed at reducing the risks of using free Wi-Fi networks.

A survey in April this year by the group shows a surprisingly high number of people using free Wi-Fi when they shouldn’t.

“27% of our survey respondents said that they’ve banked on line using a public Wi-Fi.”

That’s Alan Ormsby, the director of AARP in Utah. He says Utah’s savvy seniors use the internet far more than their counterparts across the country. But he says the added convenience of free Wi-Fi at the hotel, coffee shop, or airport can put users’ security at risk to hackers.

“The most prominent one is ‘the man in the middle,’ where the hacker actually positions themselves between you and the Wi-Fi connection point," Ormsby says. "And a person can then, once they’re kind of playing that middle man role, then they’re seeing and have access to all the data the flows on that Wi-Fi network.”

Ormsby says family members of senior internet users should have a conversation with their parents about how they’re using the internet. He says AARP.org has specific information on free wifi use and other risks of internet use on their Fraud Watch Network webpage.

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