A Witty Warning About Wireless
It sure seems cozy to sit down at a Starbucks, sip a latte and surf the Internet or catch up on e-mail, using the shop's wireless network. But the Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers that while these public "hot spots" are convenient, they are not necessarily secure, and your computer could be accessed by hackers. You should ask the proprietor what security measures are in place. Unless you can verify that there is effective security, you should probably assume that other people can access any information you see or send. So act accordingly!
The FTC has lots of other tips for wireless users in its online game, The Invasion of the Wireless Hackers, one of several it has launched recently to teach consumers about online security in an entertaining way. (It's rare that a government agency has a sense of humor so let's give those FTC folks a big round of grins!)
Here's some of the agency's advice:
* Use encryption, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a firewall.
* Turn off identifier broadcasting if your wireless router allows it.
* Change the identifier on your router from the default, which is probably a standard default ID. The same rule
applies for your router's pre-set password for administration.
* Allow only specific computers to access your wireless network.
* Turn off your wireless network when you know you won't use it.
You'll probably have more fun learning these tips--and more--on the FTC's online-security Web site. Watch out for those cute little hacker monsters!
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