Updated, 6:30 a.m.
Good morning on this mediocre Monday.
You’ve just nestled into a seat at your local coffee shop to catch up on emails and read New York Today. You click your Wi-Fi network options, select “CAFE GUEST Net,” and — woo hoo — you’re online.
The name looked innocuous enough. Convenient, too, without a password. But is that network actually safe?
“Illegitimate networks are difficult to spot because they look exactly like real ones,” said David Mitchell, the chief technology officer of Intersection, a New York-based company that manages Wi-Fi networks around the world.
Signing in to an unsecured wireless network puts much of your private information — including browser history, documents and photos — at risk of being discovered by a hacker. Even your bank login and account numbers could be compromised if you visit your bank’s website on an unsecured network.
(That’s reason enough to think twice before choosing a network that looks and feels legitimate.)
At a time when data privacy concerns have taken on added urgency, what can New Yorkers do to take extra precaution?
In the coming weeks, NYC Cyber Command, a group responsible for the city’s cyber defense efforts, plans to launch NYC Secure, an initiative to help New Yorkers protect their personal information online and strengthen the public Wi-Fi security system.
The first part of the project: a free smartphone app.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can turn on notifications, which will alert you when you’ve connected to an unsecured network that could make you vulnerable to a malicious user. You’ll receive a real-time pop-up with a description of the threat and recommendations for how to get around it, like connecting to a secure network the app is able to locate. And unlike many other apps, NYC Secure does not ask for personal information during the setup process.
(A release date has not been officially set, but Maya Worman, a spokeswoman for NYC Cyber Command, said the app should be available this summer.)
Until then, Mr. Mitchell gave us a tip for determining whether a network is safe: “Your device will indicate that a network is encrypted by showing a padlock icon or other visible indication next to the network name.”
So before you give in to temptation to connect to any listed network, trust the padlock.
Here’s what else is happening:
The weekend rain may spill over into Monday.
There’s a chance of showers and thunderstorms today, with otherwise cloudy skies and a high just above 80.
Remember: August is, on average, the third-rainiest month in New York City.
In the News
• An Australian tourist on a bicycle died after she was hit by a garbage truck on Central Park West near West 67th Street. [New York Times]
• A FOIA request revealed that Alberto M. Carvalho, the superintendent of Florida’s Miami-Dade County Public Schools, showed no signs he would turn down New York’s schools chancellor position. [New York Times]
• Air-conditioned doghouses were supposed to be the perfect solution for dog owners who wanted somewhere to house their pet while they shopped. The city didn’t think so. [New York Times]
• Katie Merriman, a Ph.D. student from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, gives free walking tours about Harlem’s Muslim history. [New York Times]
• The city is asking dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash after two people had dangerous encounters with raccoons. [West Side Rag]
• New Yorkers took to the streets of Manhattan to celebrate the annual Dominican Day Parade. [AM New York]
• Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “A Party With Theodore Bikel”
• For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.
Coming Up Today
• The annual Battery Dance Festival begins, bringing a week of outdoor performances to Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park, and workshops to Battery Dance Studios, in Battery Park City. Times vary. [Free]
• “We Rise: A Celebration of Resistance,” a Public Theater show about the past, present and future of resistance and civic engagement, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. 8 p.m. [Free]
• Looking ahead: On Wednesday, TimesTalks hosts a discussion about the Sundance hit “Juliet, Naked,” with Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd and Jesse Peretz, at Cadillac House in Lower Manhattan. 8 p.m. [Tickets]
• Yankees host Mets, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN).
• Alternate-side parking remains in effect until Wednesday.
• For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.
Another staple on our skyline has been declared an individual city landmark, joining the ranks of more than 1,400 others in our backyard.
It was first the American Telephone and Telegraph Company building (longhand for AT&T), then Sony Plaza and now, simply, 550 Madison Avenue.
When construction on the office tower, which was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, began 40 years ago, it was considered a leap forward in 20th century American architecture.
“This is the building that established postmodernism as a legitimate architectural movement,” said Frederick Bland, vice chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The structure, between East 55th and 56th Streets, has classical touches that set it apart from many neighboring skyscrapers in Midtown.
The quirky catch: The outside of the building is now a landmark, but its inside is not. There has been debate on whether the interior, exterior, or both deserve the designation.
New York Today is a morning roundup that is published weekdays at 6 a.m. If you don’t get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by email here .
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