Safe public wifi

Safe public wifi

This tweetie-bird was wandering in and out of Cafe Neo, a popular place for drinks or lunch. Cafe Neo is popular for its open, light feel and perhaps especially for the fact that they offer free wireless internet access. When visiting I've always noticed at least two or three people sipping drinks while typing away on their laptops.

May I caution you however that if you're going to use a public wifi hotspot anywhere in the world that you do at least follow these 5 rules to safer public surfing:

1. If you're using Windows, always turn off "File and Printer Sharing". Not doing this could allow bad people to download files from your computer.

2. Make sure that you're using a proper firewall. If you're using Windows Firewall, I would consider installing a second higher-rated firewall like Sunbelt Personal Firewall, Comodo, or ZoneAlarm. Not doing this could similarly allow bad people to do all kinds of nasty things to your computer, including stealing your files.

3. Never allow your mail client (e.g. Outlook) to download your email unless you're absolutely sure that the client is doing so over a secure channel (which it generally is not). Not doing this would allow bad people to view your mail account's username and password.

4. Whenever using an Internet banking website, a facility like PayPal, or your webmail account, etc. always check the server certificate of the website to make sure that you're not seeing someone's fake website. They really look like the original - you cannot tell the difference just by looking at them.

5. Make sure that your computer's operating system is properly patched. For Windows users this means that Windows Update must be active and you must allow it to install patches. If you're a Linux user you're better off to start with, but don't be fooled, Linux is also vulnerable to attack - be sure to keep your OS patched.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any helpful tips for safer surfing when using open wifi.

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