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Motorhoming | Family Motor Coach Association

Wi-Fi for online banking: How secure is it?

Hi, Jim and Chris.

I just read "Internet by data card for motorhomers" and found it very informative.

I have been full-timing now for two years and use "free" Wi-Fi or sometimes buy a week or a month of Tengo.

At FMCA’s Bowling Green convention, the guy at the Verizon booth was telling me that using Wi-Fi for banking is very risky, easy to hack, and that his air card is much safer. I don't fully trust anybody selling something to give straight skinny.

I have a Windows firewall turned on and use AVG antivirus. 

What is your attitude toward security on general Wi-Fi connections and ID theft?

Thank you.

Bill Elsenpeter, F399509

Bill,
 
This is one of the most frequent questions we get. There is a lot of misinformation out there. We regularly use Wi-Fi for financial transactions. We are careful.
 
Banking is not a bigger risk on Wi-Fi than connecting any other way.  Your bank handles the security using SSL encryption from your computer through the local Wi-Fi Network, through the Internet to the bank AND back. If someone was “sniffing” at the hotspot, all they would see is gibberish. That encryption has never been compromised.

Make sure you are on a secure Web site for transactions. You will see “http:” in the address bar and you will see a lock icon on the browser.  Sometimes the whole address line will be green.
 
Now, IF your computer is already infected with a Trojan or keylogger, you have a problem regardless of how you connect.  Keep your computer up-to-date and protected with a personal firewall and antivirus and anti spyware programs.  There are good, free utilities for that.
 
Connect only to legitimate hotspots. We have heard of "Man in the middle" fake hotspots. Those usually happen in airports and high-volume business locations, but I’ve never heard of one in RV parks.
 
Internet Security is an issue not to be taken lightly. There are crooks in this world. It is up to you to maintain a secure computer. Stay informed. If you suspect a problem, contact your bank by phone.

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