Wi-Fi coming to 21 Cape Coral parks; but what are the risks of public hotspots?

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Jaycee Park in Cape Coral on March 19, 2020. (Credit: WINK News)

While the city of Cape Coral moving forward with phase one of a plan to upgrade parks across the city, the Wi-Fi plans are still in the very early stages.

The city will be adding internet access at 21 parks, but they haven’t selected a contractor yet.

As Cape Coral moves forward, security experts warn what you should have in place when public Wi-Fi is installed.

Some parents like Alexandra Miller, say kids need interaction with their parents at the park and should play.

Erin Mighton, of Cape Coral says, “It would be good you know when your kids are playing or you’re out and you need to look something up.”

While we’re all looking for the fastest network speeds, security expert and president of Griffin Force, Carrie Kerskie warns to think twice before connecting to public Wi-Fi, “I don’t recommend anyone ever use public Wi-Fi. The risk is too great.”

The reason, new hacking software leaves personal information vulnerable like your email, passwords, banking information and more.

“Well now it’s become more sophisticated,” Kerskie said. “What they do is they make a cloned network of the public Wi-Fi that’s available so you don’t know if you’re getting on the real one or the malicious one and the minute you get on the malicious one they could be in your device.”

MORE$60M approved for Cape Coral parks to accommodate population growth

That can happen anywhere there’s Wi-Fi, including hotels, airports, and coffee shops.

Kerskie said just the act of getting on a malicious network could enable them to put malware on your device, so you could become infected just by simply connecting.

A reminder to be careful, because our phones automatically connect to the strongest network.

That means you could be connected without even knowing.

Something you can do to add a layer of security on an iPhone is to go to your Wi-Fi settings and turn on the “Ask to join networks” option.

That will make sure your phone alerts you before connecting.

The best way to be on the offensive, however, “Just avoid public Wi-Fi at all. Use the data plan that comes with your mobile phone account or you could even go and buy a mobile hotspot.” Kerskie said.

You can check out the interactive map below to see the breakdown of upgrades at each location.

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