Many homeowners associations offer free Wi-Fi around public areas such as pools and clubhouses. In order to make use of it, members will need to agree to the terms and conditions of HOA policy.
HOAs will ask that members abide by the association’s Internet policy, most likely something that prohibits illegal, abusive or vulgar activity. As the service is free of charge in most cases, members must realize that should issues arise with service, the association will work to resolve those issues in timely manner but cannot guarantee it will be up and working within a specific time frame.
One of the biggest concerns with Wi-Fi availability around public buildings, pools, basketball courts, etc., is that the HOA’s wireless access is more than likely not secured. If this is the situation, those using the service could have their information monitored, stolen or altered by others. Hackers are everywhere, just waiting for you to drop your guard so be particularly careful should you choose to engage the public Wi-Fi.
There are also other risks involved with connecting to a public wireless connection, including viruses, malware, loss of data and even hardware and software failure. Should you opt to use these services, remember that it is your responsibility to protect your information from all risks associated with using the wireless service, i.e. damage, loss or theft.
Experts will tell you that you should refrain from making any financial transactions or using credit cards when you’re using public Wi-Fi and you should follow that advice. Other ways to ensure safety while using public Wi-Fi include:
Turn off sharing
Set all websites to secure before logging on
Use a VPN or SSL connection (Always Use HTTPS option on websites that you visit)
Turn Wi-Fi off when you’re not using it
Make sure you install a strong Internet security solution, like malware, and keep it running
Remember that using the public Internet opens you up to all sorts of possible problems so be diligent about safety. In the end, it might be best to simply enjoy the pool, gym, etc. and not engage in using the public Wi-Fi. It could certainly save you a lot of heartache should you fall prey to an Internet hacker.
Wise Property Solutions is East Tennessee’s only Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC®). As the region’s leader in community association management, the firm is committed to the industry’s best practices and continuing professional development. Wise Property Solutions’ certified and highly trained property managers empower well-organized and efficient communities. The firm maintains offices in both Knoxville and the Tri-Cities.