PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A coffee shop in Old Town Chinatown is taking extra security measures to protect the business and customer privacy after its owners say someone hacked into its WiFi.
Floyd’s Coffee Shop is a staple in Old Town Chinatown that’s been in the community for more than a decade.
“It's been described as the living room of Old Town,” co-owner Nicole Tignor said.
It’s a place where the community can come to visit with friends, family or meet for work and have a cup of joe.
One of the perks is the public WiFi.
But Tignor noticed it had been running slow a few months ago.
It just continued to get worse, so she called an IT expert for some help.
“There’s someone hacking into our system as we were sitting there,” Tignor said.
The hacker changed passwords, including ones for their surveillance cameras, gaining access to whoever might be logged onto the WiFi at the time.
“I want to provide a safe space for my customers,” Tignor said.
But that comes at a cost.
Tignor says it costs more than $300 a month for commercial Internet.
“I didn't know about this kind of thing,” Tignor said. “It’s not something that when you buy a shop or start a business that they tell you in a handbook, ‘Hey, cyber security is a big risk.’”
FOX 12 spoke with Mark Cooper, the president of PKI Solutions, a cyber security company. He says it’s tough to know a hacker’s location.
It could be a customer sitting in your shop, or someone around the world.
Having two Internet systems, he says, is one way to protect your business.
“One of the easiest things that a coffee shop in this case could probably do is to actually have two different WiFis,” Cooper said. “And one of those scenarios is what we would call a guest WiFi, and that connection would only have access to the Internet, wouldn't have the ability to get access to cameras or point of sales system.”
As for customers, he says really think about what you’re doing online in a public setting.
“If you have any doubt whatsoever probably whatever you're needing to do from a banking perspective or your identity or health care information, maybe that's not the place to do it,” Cooper said.
He also says you can make sure the website you’re on in a public setting is encrypted. You can tell if it has a lock symbol in the URL.
You can also purchase a virtual private network. Cooper says that will launch an encrypted network that protects you from anyone seeing your activity while you’re logged in on public WiFi.
Floyd’s Coffee is separating its Internet now, and there’s a time limit for how long customers can use it.
It’s also looking into a service that monitors Internet activity.
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