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Dangers of an Unsecured Wireless Network

Wireless technology is very convenient since it allows you to access the Internet from all sorts of locations without manually being attached to a router. But a wireless network isn't without its dangers especially if precautions aren't taken. It's important to secure your wireless network for your own protection.

Identity and Personal Information Theft

If you use an open and unprotected wireless network, there's a greater risk of your personal data being stolen. As your personal information travels between your computer and your unsecured wireless router, it can easily be intercepted by someone with even just basic technological skills. This information could be as benign as the history of websites you've visited, if you're not ashamed of where you've been online, to more serious information like usernames and passwords. An unprotected wireless network also makes it easier for someone else to access email addresses, confidential work files, tax returns or anything else that may be on your computer.

Being Watched

An unsecured wireless network makes it easy for someone to monitor your online activities as you do them. This means your online messenger chats could be monitored, someone could be watching you as you long into your online banking and emails can be intercepted so they don't reach their intended target.

Sometimes the online attacker gains access to the router of an unsecured wireless internet network by guessing the default settings. Once the attacker has these settings, he can change the DNS server to his own where you, the victim, are redirected to sites that look identical to the ones you frequent. You punch in your user name and password and the attacker instantly has the information he needs to access your banking, PayPal or online email addresses. He uses this information to steal from you or send out messages to your family and friends requesting money or other inappropriate messages.

Criminal Activity Using Your Network

An unsecured network is easier to access which means you're at the mercy of anyone who wishes to use if for illegal or criminal activity. If an online attacker uses your network to harass others, steal from others or even break into confidential government files, you as the owner of that network could be prosecuted even if you had no idea your network was being used for those reasons.

Access to Corporate Networks

If you use your home unsecured wireless network to access your work networks, you could be providing an attacker with the way to access the private files on your company's corporate network.

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You can protect your computer from viruses without expensive software. Instead, follow these simple tips:

Stay up-to-date on all system updates.

Don't download any email attachments you weren't expecting.

Avoid freeware and peer-to-peer sharing sites.

Use alternative web browsers and email software.