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Hotspot Security

Everybody Is Watching

Hotspots, or public WiFi networks, can be a security threat to anyone using them if the proper precautions are not taken. Since hotspots don't normally use encryption, you can assume that people can see your internet traffic if you don't take steps to keep your information safe.

How To Keep Safe

Here are some steps you should take to keep your wireless device secure when using a public hotspot.

  • Make sure you are using a legitimate hotspot. Someone can easily set up pirate routers with familiar SSID names like "t-mobile" and use these to capture unsuspecting user's private information.
  • Verify that your computer's firewall is turned on and that Window's file-sharing feature is off.
  • Never send usernames, account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, confidential emails, or other sensitive data using a hotspot unless you are positive you are on a secure site.
  • Always turn your WiFi radio off when you are not using it. Hackers can set up peer-to-peer WiFi connections with your computer and use them to access your personal information directly.
  • Connect though your home PC by using remote-access software.
  • Consider subscribing to a paid hotspot network for better security. Such companies provide connection software that encrypts your data for you. You may also want to consider a VPN.
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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser