Free wifi in cafes is like a decade old. Laptop campers have been commonplace for a long time, and those few cafes without wifi are now the exception to the rule. Access to the World Wide Web as a bonus to your two dollars and twenty-five cent cup of coffee is just a thing that is, much as cafe owners and fans of conversation and community in cafes may bemoan the campers.

All that said, it’s no wonder so many people slip into a false sense of security when opening up their laptops, accessing things one probably shouldn’t in public. It can be easy to forget that you aren’t in your pajamas in your living room. So, as a gentle reminder, here are six things to avoid while using free cafe wifi: for your safety and the safety of others.

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6. Don’t do your online banking.

Free public wifi is basically like leaving your car door wide open in the parking lot. Don’t plug in your most secure passwords while out in public. Celebrities have had their personal photostreams taken from their iCloud accounts, while Sony got hacked big-time last year: if famous people and huge companies can be victims, it should serve as a wake-up call that hackers are out there looking at your flirty pictures and credit card numbers.

5. Think twice about Facebook and Gmail.

This might seem a little much, but your Facebook and Gmail are open season for creepy campers. LifeHacker recommends using SSL (https://) when accessing the social medias and emails, and we do, too.

4. If you’re going to watch that YouTube, put your headphones on, please.

This is just common decency, and if you don’t understand why, you’re pretty much a sociopath.

3. Turn sharing off.

On Macs, it’s easy to share between devices and even easier to forget that you haven’t changed your settings when out in public. Sharing your most private files, iTunes folder, and secret stash of nighttime videos is probably by default turned on. Turn it off!

2. While you’re at it, be courteous of the two and four-top tables you’re taking over.

While this isn’t necessarily a security risk, it can be if I see you taking up a four-top on a busy Monday with all your shit out everywhere. This literally happened to me like three days ago, and it was aggravating. Share tables with other campers. Maybe make a real-life friend!

1. No porn.

Yeah, we’re looking at you, the one who shifts the table around so we can’t see your screen.

Original photography by D. Robert Wolcheck (@drw) for from the story “A Love Letter To Little Skips In Bushwick, Brooklyn.” You can find more of his work on his website at

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