July 4, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Why ‘Wi-Fi’ Security? Computer Security Part Three:

When you take a laptop or iPad to a friend’s house, it has become standard practice to ask for the wireless password. “What’s the password for your internet?” or something along those lines is as common as “Where’s the bathroom?” And yet, frequently we still find unsecured wireless connections that we can hop onto and browse the Internet to our heart’s content, free from those pesky passwords.

But here’s the problem – those pesky passwords protect us from costly security issues. Without wireless encryption turned on, a potential hacker can literally sit with a laptop and pull information out of the air from as far as a mile away that can be used to crack your passwords, access confidential information such as bank records, and steal your identity. Of course, these are worst-case scenarios, but they are very real and very possible. And the worst part is, you’re handing them the information they then use against you. Check the online article for more information on the attacks that can take place. It’s mind blowing how quickly your identity can be stolen this way. So, how do we protect ourselves?

Firstly, at home and at work, make sure your router and/or wireless access points have their wireless security turned on. Be sure to use the “WPA2” method of encryption. If it turns out you have laptops or other wireless gear that won’t work with WPA2, then try WPA (and WEP as a last resort), but plan on upgrading the incompatible gear. Newer wireless equipment has better security, speed and range, so it’s a worthwhile upgrade regardless.

Secondly, when you’re in a public place, don’t be lazy and simply connect to the first available wireless network that is open. Try to connect to one that is encrypted – this is usually indicated by a lock next to the name of the network. If you’re at a hotel or Starbucks, etc then ask for the password. The password is used as part of the encryption process that turns all of the data you send and receive into meaningless jibberish. When the best encryption protocols (like WPA2 with AES) are used, the amount of time required to intercept and crack your passwords increases from seconds to literally thousands of years.

What if there is no secure WiFi available in that public place? For security purposes you’re better off using your own Wireless data plan from a cell phone provider. One of my associates goes so far as to use his wireless data plan to connect his laptop back to his home office with a VPN. The result is that his data in public is completely encrypted and his web browsing actually takes place from his home, wired network connection. I don’t think everyone needs to take security this far, but it’s certainly a strong statement about the importance of wireless security.

For our next installment, we’ll be continuing the series of articles on security by devoting an entire column to passwords. What are good passwords, and how can you remember them all? Be sure to check out the online version of the article for more details.

Scott Bly is the President of IT Freeway, a Santa Monica-based, small business computer consultancy. He teaches seminars at MacMall in Santa Monica and is a member of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Technology Committee. His debut young adult techno-thriller novel “SMASHER” is being published by Scholastic/Blue Sky Press in Spring 2013. He can be reached via email at scott@itfreeway.com.

in News
Related Posts

John McEnroe and Patty Smyth Sell Malibu Home for $29 Million

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

Malibu Colony home sold to unknown buyer in private sale By Dolores Quintana John McEnroe, a retired former tennis star,...

SMa.r.t. Column: A Tale of Two Cities

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

The City of Santa Monica is surrounded on three sides by the City of Los Angeles. Therefore, while the jurisdictions...

Santa Monica City Council Approves Ballot Measure That Would Increase Hotel Bed Tax

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Santa Monica’s bed tax has been raised since 2004 By Dolores Quintana In a vote on June 28, the Santa...

PETA Attempts to Stop the Beach Club From Holding Annual Fireworks Display

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Parking lot where display is held is on City of LA land, not Santa Monica, allowing Club to obtain permit...

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Prepares for SMASH/Muir Campus Mold Removal

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Exact costs for repairs still unknown By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro  It is unknown exactly how much the total...

Watering Restrictions for Santa Monica Residents Take Effect Soon

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

New restrictions will go into effect on July 5, limiting watering to twice a week By Sam Catanzaro New restrictions...

Daily Harvest Recalls Meal Kits Handed out at Venice Event Following 470 Cases of Mysterious Illness

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Direct-to-consumer meal kit company under fire for handling of outbreak tied to lentil and leek meal kit By Sam Catanzaro...

Central Coast Brewery Makes Westside Acquisitions

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Figueroa Mountain Brewing acquires Broxton Brewery, The Stalking Horse and more. Staff, current beer taps to remain on board at...

Mexican Restaurant Possibly Expanding Into Former Swingers Space

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Bar Hermanito applies for an alcohol exemption sales permit for space at 802 Broadway in Santa Monica By Dolores Quintana...

Six Family-Fun Westside Fourth of July Events

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Fireworks, parades, runs and more taking place across the Westside  By Ashley Sloan  Pacific Palisades  The Pacific Palisades will be...

California Credit Union Awards Grant to Santa Monica Teacher

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Building electric circuit friendship detectors and applying engineering principles to solve real world problems are Westside school projects receiving funding...

Santa Monica’s Building Bridges Art Exchange Presents: J.J. Martin’s “Role Models”

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

A traveling exhibit in partnership with Indianilla Cultural Center, Mexico City and Real de Catorce Cultural Center, Real de Catorce,...

Santa Monica City Council Approves New Rules to Streamline Meetings

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Pilot program will run through end of year By Dolores Quintana At the Santa Monica City Council meeting on June...

Banning Construction of New Gas Stations in Los Angeles?

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Motion from LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz calls for banning the building of any new gas pumping facilities By Sam...

Child Of Elon Musk Receives Approval For Name And Gender Change: Santa Monica Beat – June 27th, 2022

June 27, 2022

June 27, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Child Of Elon Musk Receives Approval For Name And Gender Change * Smash...