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WIFI security

Hello, I’m trying to locate a post about computer security for internet on MACs in hotspots that someone wrote a few months ago. Can someone help me out?

by Yannis Dessureault at 2009-05-08 15:35:56 UTC Quebec , Canada | Bookmark | | Report spam→

I wrote a reply to a spam question that addressed it a while back:


Here’s the relevant bits:

If they have accessed your account, say by installing a key-logger at an Internet café where you checked your mail, or sniffed wireless traffic while on an open WiFi connection (very simple to do) then you may be in real trouble. There were a few people hit by this, where the found themselves locked out of their account while their friends received “help me, I’m trapped in a foreign country” emails, begging the friends to wire money to Western Union. (Since they have access to your whole account, they can read old mail and send very personalized mails to trick your friends and family.)

If this happens, contact your email provider immediately and have them lock the account until you can verify your identity.

When traveling, it’s best to avoid using public terminals and net café computers as they can’t be trusted—use your own. If you use open WiFi, either install a VPN (Virtual Private Network) package like HotSpot Shield (http://www.anchorfree.com/downloads/hotspot-shield/ ) or ask your company or agency to set up their own VPN.

HotspotShield is a company that encrypts all of your network traffic in exchange for inserting an ad into the top of web pages you visit. Your data passes through their servers, so it’s not exactly secure from them, so if you have truly sensitive data, you’ll need to consider that, though you will be safe from the guy at the next table running a sniffer program, capturing all of the wireless traffic, looking for passwords. (Anyone sharing the WiFi connection can do this, quite simply.)"

by [former member] | 09 May 2009 22:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
this sacared me, have the home wifi the same risks?

by Hernan Zenteno | 09 May 2009 23:05 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
If you have not properly secured your home wifi, yes it would be reletively trivial to intercept everything you type/send/transmit.

Wireless best practices (not sure if this applies to mac stuff):
– use WPA or WPA2 encryption. WEP is not good enough anymore
– do not broadcast the network SSID. This keeps anyone who doesn’t know the name of network from easily locating it.

If you’re really paranoid, require all devices to be registered on the wireless network by MAC address.


by Andrew Brinkhorst | 10 May 2009 01:05 | Lexington, KY, United States | | Report spam→
I check and i have wpa2, uff. thanks for the advice

by Hernan Zenteno | 10 May 2009 01:05 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
Thank you guys! And sorry for the late response… So, like many of us, I often surf the web in cafés (wireless) and I know that it is easy for almost anyone to get into my laptop. Unfortunately, I’m not very computer savvy. I have heard what Andrew is saying about WPA, but I don’t know how to verify if this is set up correctly on my computers. And what is the network SSID exactly? And is there a way to install a VPN without having to use HotSpot Shield?

by Yannis Dessureault | 14 May 2009 14:05 | Quebec, Canada | | Report spam→
SSID is something like a network name and is broadcasted by a WIFI access point so that devices can easily find it and connect to it. If you don’t have your own access point (like at your house or office) you don’t really need to care about it. If you do have one, it doesn’t really help a lot to turn it off since there is a number of tools that help to discover networks that are ‘hidden’ by not broadcasting SSID.

WPA or WPA2 encryption is also set on the WIFI access point. If you are just connecting to a random access point in a hotel or internet cafe you don’t really have a choice and it doesn’t really matter especially if the network is opened to public and doesn’t require any password. But if you have your own access point it’s a good idea to set the encryption to one of those. So on public networks, on any networks where you can’t control who has the access, I would strongly recommend using a VPN. And maybe even on your own network if doing critical online transactions or so.

I’m using Witopia for VPN and am quite happy with it. Even though it can get really slow sometimes but that’s the only way I can get to some sites from China. I would definitely recommend you using a ready-made VPN service like the one from Witopia, especially if you are not computer savvy. Setting up and maintaining your own VPN takes some knowledge and I don’t think saving the $60 a year is worth the trouble doing it yourself.

by [former member] | 14 May 2009 15:05 | Suzhou, China | | Report spam→

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Yannis Dessureault, photographer Yannis Dessureault
Quebec , Canada
Hernan Zenteno, Photographer Hernan Zenteno
Buenos Aires , Argentina ( EZE )
Andrew Brinkhorst, photographer Andrew Brinkhorst
Lexington, Ky , United States


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