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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Use WI-FI HOTSPOTS Wisely - How To Evaluate Security

Most private, as well as some public, networks use one of several security standards to protect users and themselves from intrusion. You’ll encounter WEP, WPA, and possibly WPA2. The Wireless Network Connection dialog box may provide the network type. If not, here’s a hint: WEP security keys always contain 26 characters; WPA and WPA2 security keys are eight to 63 characters in length.


WEP is the least secure and easiest to crack; treat a WEP network as you would an unsecure network, setting its profile to Public unless you absolutely must communicate with other PCs. WPA and WPA2 are more impervious to cracking, so you can use a profile that is more open, such as Work, if necessary (or tweak the settings in the Public profile to open things up as needed).

Take Charge
At the end of the day, the responsibility for protecting your assets lies with you. Using common Internet precautions is also a good idea. Before you provide sensitive information, be sure you are at a secure site. The Web address should begin with “https” instead of “http,” and your browser should display a padlock icon or other security confirmation. Check with your email provider to see if you can encrypt your email messages. Another precaution you can take is to turn off your wireless adapter when you are not using the Internet. To turn wireless off, right-click the icon for your wireless connection in the System Tray and select Disable. ▲

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