Protect Yourself While Using Free Wi-Fi

From Computerworld:

Connecting to a hot spot can be an open invitation to danger. Hot spots are public, open networks that practically invite hacking and snooping. They use unencrypted, insecure connections, but most people treat them as if they are secure private networks.

This could allow anyone nearby to capture your packets and snoop on everything you do when online, including stealing passwords and private information. In addition, it could also allow an intruder to break into your PC without your knowledge.

Now that you’ve begun panicking, there are several things you can do to protect yourself, including making sure ad hoc mode is disabled, turning off file sharing, turning off “Network Discover” (Vista), and using a Virtual Private Network. Info on how to accomplish all of this (and more) is at Computerworld. —MEGHANN MARCO

How to protect yourself at wireless hot spots [Computerworld via Hackzine]


Edit Your Comment

  1. nweaver says:

    ALso: Make sure you have file sharing turned off.

    NEVER connect to a P2P (rather than access point) network. “Free Public WiFi” as a P2P (computer to computer) is reportedly always malicious, I haven’t investigated further but I’ve seen this a few times.

  2. Steve_Holt says:

    Does using a VPN on a public wi-fi offer the same amount of security as tunneling in from my home wi-fi network? i.e. a VPN is a VPN, doesn’t matter where you log in from?

  3. viriiman says:
  4. viriiman says:

    After reading the article, some pretty good tips. Nothing ground breaking that an “advanced” computer user wouldn’t know.

    I just wished they would’ve gone more into setting up your own free VPN vs. having to pay and talked about hotels and the like that could be injecting their own browser frames into sites to track your surfing.

  5. William Mize says:

    Mac version sometime in the future, please.

  6. Chris says:

    I was driving down the road with my dad the other day, and he says (out of nowhere), “Free Whiffy!?” Apparently, he was reading a sign in a coffee house window.

  7. robdew says:

    one tip per page? Seriously?

    Disable ad hoc mode
    Turn off file sharing
    Turn off network discovery
    Encrypt your e-mail
    Carry an encrypted USB flash drive
    Disable your wireless adapter (!?)
    Watch out for shoulder surfers
    Beware phony hot spots
    Turn on your firewall

  8. Amy Alkon says:

    What are “phony hot spots”?

    And anybody know of a tips piece for Mac users?