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Security Considerations When Using Public Wireless Networks

written by: Cherrineb•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 8/25/2010

Using a wireless network at home gives you more control over how you set up your personal network. However, there are security considerations when using public wireless networks. The following are tips using your wireless-enabled laptop at public places such as a library or airport.

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    Sensitive Information and Evil Twin Attacks

    You can monitor your online activities and avoid researching financial data such as banking and stock account information which shows your name, account numbers, and dates of transactions. Also, postpone your online shopping until you can perform it safely at home ,or on a private, secure network. You can still comparison shop to decide on possible gifts such as boating equipment, clothing, or diamond jewelry. Use a simple notebook to store this information for later research.

    By monitoring your online activities, a computer thief does not have the opportunity to use an evil twin attack and steal sensitive information and create financial problems lasting for years.

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    The Public and Unsecure Wireless Networks

    Consider your public surroundings. A computer thief does not have to use a computer to steal your financial information. For instance, if you use a wireless network in a crowded location such as an airport, you risk dozens of people looking over your shoulders to watch your researching and typing. Another consideration is a team of thieves so do not allow someone to ask for directions to a local activity while you turn your head away from your computer screen to answer questions while a partner jots odown vital information.

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    Employers and Virtual Private Networks

    Some companies provide a virtual private network (VPN) to connect securely to their network. The VPNs provide security encryption connections for activities such as verifying company financial records. This happens when the VPN allows data and links to be transferred between two computers links to be shared. An employee should discuss if this option is available by his/her employer and learn the proper way to use to keep data safe.

    Another overlooked security consideration is file sharing. You want to minimize all file sharing until you know that your computer system is free from computer hacker attacks and the files will reach its destination safely.

    Each of this security considerations can help a person use public networks with less problems while enjoying the freedom to have worldwide internet access.