LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - If you're on a computer in a public place, it's hard to tell who's looking in. Hackers, believe it or not, can follow your every click and pick up every password you type. If you're on public wi-fi, also known as a wireless Internet connection, it's possible.
"Using a public wi-fi is the same as talking in public. The same way that email is considered to be like sending a postcard. Just about anybody can read email," explains Michael Carr, UK's Chief Information Security Officer.
Carr does not recommend doing anything on public wi-fi you wouldn't do or say on a crowded Lexington street.
"There are cases of crooks stealing information, using it to steal identities," he says, "if you have a couple hundred bucks you can buy devices and software on the Internet that will allow you to capture packets and then analyze those packets."
Those packets Carr refers to capture your login information, and passwords, for whatever site you search while using someone else's wi-fi.
"If you happen to use the same password for your email that you use for your bank account then that person who sniffed the air, who captured your information also has your credentials to get in to your bank."
Carr suggests using different passwords for every account you have, and making sure the sites you visit are protected with https addresses.
"Don't do anything on the public wifi that you don't mind somebody seeing."