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  • The Coffee Shop Hack: Browsers Beware
Technology Articles > Software > Security & Privacy > The Coffee Shop Hack: Browsers Beware

When you log into free WiFi at any cafe (or other public location), you are susceptible to hacks. You should never access a bank account or other personal information via public WiFi. But, you probably knew that. What you might not know is how hackers and other malicious folks are finding new ways to steal your data.

ThreatMatrix, a cyber security firm, is warning Internet cafe users of a new scam. A scam that goes something like this: hackers leave an innocent looking USB drive on a table. You pick up that drive, because you are curious and you can't help it, and you plug that drive into your computer. What happens next? That innocent looking USB device snags all the important data on your computer. What else?

Other New Tricks and Tips

ThreatMatrix also warns people to beware of what's happening in a cafe or other public location. If someone around you is suspiciously using a camera or phone with a camera, and aiming that camera at you, they might be attempting to spy on your current computer happenings. Believe it or not, by zooming in on your screen, these hackers can steal your data. How crazy is that?

Unfortunately, you can't go up to everyone holding a smartphone and accuse them of stealing your data. But, you can certainly be aware of what's happening around you. Also, be aware of someone who's holding up a smartphone next to a bank or credit card that you might be holding. Think that guy next to you is just being super friendly? He might be snapping a photo of your card, so watch out.

Hacks Becoming More Common

As hackers become more inventive, hacks become more common. That's just the nature of the beast. This means that you have to be more aware of new hacks as time moves on. Hackers are learning to use cameras, smartphones, and USB devices to find out what information you're hiding.

It's really easy to sit back and sip a coffee thinking that nothing bad is going to happen to you. Sadly, this is rarely the case. If you live in a crowded area, hacks are far more common. Be careful about what websites you access using a public WiFi. What should you avoid?

Sites to Avoid Accessing

Unless you are on secure home network, never, ever, access your bank account or any other site that requires credit card information. Want to go to the local coffee shop to buy some shoes online? Think again. Looking to check your bank account quickly? Don't do it with public WiFi.

Even though a cafe seems like a safe place, it's not. Don't be tempted to access sites that you know you shouldn't -- no matter how safe it seems to be. I also can't stress this enough: do not pop a random USB into your computer. I know, you want to know what other people are up to, but this is a really bad idea. If you see a USB, leave it alone. Otherwise, you are asking for trouble.