Laptop Wireless Security
The best laptop security for using Wi-Fi or hotspots is to simply not login to any webpage or online service, when you have to use a public, open, free and unsecure Wi-Fi network. This will help prevent attackers or sniffers from getting what they want – your private and valuable information. To help secure your laptop, mobile phones and yourself, follow the precautions below to prevent or decrease threats:
- Turn-off the Wi-Fi capabilities on a laptop or any device, if not in use.
- Avoid using public connection when using online banking or any services that require personal data to access.
- Configure the Network and Sharing Center in Windows to not automatically connect to any public hotspots. Manually choose which networks you want.
- Keep your computer or device current with updates.
- Use a firewall and antivirus program with real-time protection.
Use Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2) or Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), and then use a strong passphrase. Also see, WEP, WPA, and WPS - Which to Use?
If you have to use public Wi-Fi to do online banking, use social networking websites, or access any online accounts and services, make sure that you are going to login using SSL or an encrypted connection. That means the webpage or online service is using HTTPS protocol.
If you plan to send and receive email using an email program, use free and secure email certificates so attackers cannot view the e-mails. Also see, How to Enable SSL for a Secure Email Service.
Finally, consider encrypting files or your hard-disk to prevent anyone from viewing the data on your computer. You can just use a program like TrueCrypt or enable BitLocker and BitLocker To Go in Windows.
Image credits: http://codebutler.com/firesheep, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stiftungsparkassa_hotspot.JPG By Emes (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons