Information Security

Going Wireless? Be Careful Using Free Wi-Fi Hot Spots

graphic showing "WiFi"

According to the Postal Service™ Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT), the adage “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” also applies to free wireless hot spots.

Wireless or Wi-Fi hot spots can be found in many places, including eateries, hotels, and retail stores. They provide access to the Internet to anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled computer, tablet, or similar device.

While convenient, they’re not always secure. Information transmitted over public Wi-Fi can be accessed by anyone on the network. Employees are cautioned against using public Wi-Fi for private business or financial transactions. Postal Service business or sensitive business should not be handled over public Wi-Fi; however, personal password-protected mobile hot spots are an option to help ensure the security of transmitted data.

When conducting Postal Service business outside the office, employees must use the Virtual Private Network (VPN). It creates a secure, encrypted connection from a computer or device back to the VPN inside the Postal Service network. This ensures that the connection is secure for USPS® business.

VPN usage is governed by policies in Handbook AS-805C, Information Security for General Users.