Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wardriving and wireless security: are we making security too complicated?


WUSA9 (the CNS affiliate) in Washington DC today (May 18) aired a story about wardriving, partly related to a Google survey in San Francisco mapping the location of wireless routers while inadvertently picking up some personal information.

The story by Lindsey Mastis about “Airpatrol” and wardriving on WUSA9 is titled “Hackers Target Open Access Point”. The story recommends reading your wireless router manual to secure it, and if using a public access hotspot, use “WiFi security software”. The list is [web url] here. The television report at noon today in Washington said to turn “broadcast” off on your wireless settings.

I connected my laptop to Verizon (just as well, as Comcast broadband was slow and unreliable today for some reason) and could find no such settings in Windows Vista on my laptop.

There are some tips on the posting from WiFi Alliance (the source webpage is [web url] here ).

But there is also a comment by “DrBZen” that reads prosaically “Your best bet is to always use secure functional protocols. For example, your web credit card purchases are protected by encryption when your web browser shows a "lock" icon and the URL you are accessing is "https" (secure HTTP) rather than the usual "http:" Depending on your email server, you may have access to secure version of the email protocols IMAP, POP, and SMTP.” It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it.



ABC Good Morning America has an article by Beckey Worley "How to Protect Your Digital Privacy: Tips to Help You and Your Family Stay Safe Online", link here.  Note that she assumes you have a wireless writer and that your lapop won't have Internet access during some of the procedure. But as the commenter on WUSA9 said above, it may not be that complicated.

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