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Wi-Fi security tips

September 12, 2005 By Gus in Miami: Travel NewsTechnology  | 5 Comments

As more and more people travel with wireless notebooks and logon to the Internet at public Wi-Fi hotspots, hackers lie in wait, anxious to exploit the security vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi.

The following four tips will help you fortify your defenses while enjoying the benefits of surfing the Web via public Wi-Fi:

Tip #1 - Beware the “Evil Twin”. An “Evil Twin” is a hacker operated hotspot designed to trick users into believing it is a legitimate public hotspot by mimicking the legitimate public hotspot’s network name and login page (if applicable). Once the user has connected to the “rogue” hotspot, the hacker may even go as far as mimicking login pages for popular email and banking sites thereby stealing the user’s most valued login credentials.

A standard protection against this type of attack is to only use public hotspots that provide an SSL-encrypted login connection which has been certified as legitimate by a trusted third party such as Thawte or Verisign. If the login page’s URL begins with “https” versus “http” and you see a “lock” icon in the lower right hand corner of your web browser, it is SSL-encrypted. You can view the SSL certificate from your web browser by clicking File > Properties > Certificates

Tip #2 - Virtually all public hotspots disable WEP and WPA to provide a hassle free login for users. What this means is that your data is not encrypted as it travels through the air and can be read by a hacker using standard command line utilities found in certain operating systems. Unless your company provides you with a VPN (Virtual Private Network), your best bet is to act as if there is always someone looking over your shoulder because someone might be. If you intend to perform financial transactions, ensure that you are doing so over an SSL-encrypted connection.

Tip #3 - Turn your firewall on and configure your wireless network settings as follows: Start > Settings > Network Connections > Wireless Network Connection > Change Advanced Settings > Advanced Tab > Windows Firewall Settings > Select “On” > OK

Turn ad-hoc mode off: Start > Settings > Network Connections > Wireless Network Connection > Change Advanced Settings > Wireless Networks Tab > Select Network > Properties > Uncheck “This is a computer-to-computer (ad-hoc) network” > OK

Disable file sharing: Start > Settings > Network Connections > Wireless Network Connection > Change Advanced Settings > Uncheck “File and Printer Sharing” > OK

Tip #4- Keep both your operating system and anti-virus software current with the latest updates.

By employing these four security tips, your data will stay out of the wrong hands while you surf the Web via public Wi-Fi.

Related stories:
Wi-Fi Hotspots
Hotels with Internt Access
Miami Beach Internet Cafes

Related Categories: Miami: Travel News, Technology,

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

See more articles by Gus.

See more articles by Gus

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5 Comments on

"Wi-Fi security tips"

Wi-Fi says:

A study has attempted to show that public controversies about outsourcing in the U.S. have much more to do with class and ethnic tensions within the U.S. itself, than with actual impacts of outsourcing.

Posted on 03/13/2008 at 3:36 PM

Tips says:

Thanks for this article, I have been having security problems with mine and this sure helps.

Posted on 11/14/2008 at 8:02 AM

RedVirus80 says:

Since I came to miami I’ve learned that most company in downtown and south beach wifi routers use WEP which is very very weak security. Others might get a tiny bit smart and use WPA or WPA2 all 3 of these CAN BE CRACKED! I know for a fact I’m a wardriver I did my thing a alot on washington ave and downtown. Picking all the places I’ve seen on tv and saying gee when I get to miami I wanna see if that place has a wifi ap and hit it. But wait, for what “Free internet access” or do I push it a bit further and see whats on the networks. I know for a fact just about 90% of all POS(Point of Sale) terminals (The touch screen thing that your waitress/bartender) uses to cash out your tab, runs windows 2000 professional. If these are set up wrong there very very easy to access. To cut it short I an go to a bar/club/wtfe run up a tab then delete half of it and walk out with only paying what ever I want. Also let me mention VPN!..That to can have holes in it as well I found 7 companys downtown miami that had a wpa2 encrypted router with a vpn, all had very bad security. And no mac filtering will not stop a real hacker thats been in the game long enough. Firewalls all have holes in them as well, keep in mind they require updates as well. Hell some only protect you from internet activity and not local network activity. Will I tell you more about protecting your wifi, NO (And take all my fun and money away?) But I will tell you this about me. I never finished high school, never took a computer class, and I been in construction all my life. Will a company hire me as a it tech or network security admin? no cause I don’t have any certifications. Now I want you to ask “GUS” if all I said was true and will tip# 1-4 will really keep my ass from doing what I do! Oh one last thing I’m from summerville,SC “WOOO, Just hav’in Fun!”

Posted on 04/07/2009 at 10:22 AM

Gus says:

“Now I want you to ask “GUS” if all I said was true…”

I’m no hacker, but you sound legit to me. Thank you for commenting. Now I know who to contact when I want to wipe out my check at T.G.I Fridays. smile

Posted on 04/07/2009 at 11:08 AM

RedVirus80 says:

I take reply with a smile!

Posted on 04/07/2009 at 11:46 AM

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