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Which wireless network should I connect to? Not "Free Public Wifi"...

1254100844519065874wireless-wifi-hotspot.svg.med NPR recently reported that if you see a wireless network named "Free Public Wifi" in your list of available wireless networks, you should never connect to it because it could potentially expose your computer to hackers and other security risks. This threat has been around for a long time, but it was news to me!

To brush up on your wireless security knowledge, here are some tips from Dan for deciding if a wireless network is safe to use:

  • Don't connect to a public wireless network unless you know who the provider is. Be especially suspicious of "ad hoc" networks (this type may also be labeled as an "Unsecured computer-to-computer network").
  • When in doubt, ask someone what the name of the network is before connecting (especially if you see networks with names like "linksys," "hpsetup," "netgear," "tmobile," "default," etc.).
  • A wireless network is more secure if it uses encryption, preferably WPA or WPA2 encryption. (To use a "secure" network you will have to enter an encryption key the first time you connect to it.)
  • By their very nature, public wireless networks are not secure. There are security risks even if you are using a "security enabled" network that uses encryption.
  • Your information is not protected while using wireless networks. Don't use public wireless for business or financial transactions.


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Good post, really good info. I've get a friend that would I am going to forward this info and this blog to. Stay away from those airport networks! Keep writing.

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