I recently bought a small laptop to ward off the purchase of a new desktop computer. My old Dell is limping along these days, taking longer to open websites, process pictures and download email, all the stuff we use computers for.
The little laptop is fast, having four times as much memory as my current computer. I also liked the idea that it is portable, ready to jump in the car with me so I can hang out at the local coffeehaus amidst all of the cool people tapping away on their keyboards.
But then I was watching a TV show where a lot of Big Government Secrets were stolen out of thin air from a military man’s computer while he was connected via free Wi-Fi at a local spot. Thinking this was just another outrageous TV plot, I didn’t give it a second thought until I read about how much easier it is to hack into computers connected to a Wi-Fi network than it is to do the same for our computers that are home-bound.
A quick Google search turned up several articles on this subject, something we should all be paying more attention to.
According to an article on www.Enterprise-security-today.com, “Wireless security poses greater challenges than cable connections because its users broadcast their information via radio waves that travel in every direction. Enterprising hackers find ways to identify individual wireless users and pinpoint their locations, intercept information those users send and piggyback onto someone's paid Net session.”
Scary stuff, huh?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation warns that hackers are always trying to “eavesdrop” on your computer to gather personal information that will provide access to your financial accounts or even to your company’s private information. Many of the Wi-Fi hot spots (there are more than 68,000 in the U.S. alone) have secure networks, but some do not, according to the FBI’s Cyber Division.
Click here to read more about the FBI’s warning. To learn more about Carnegie Mellon University’s ongoing research on this security issue, visit here..
By Teresa K. Flatley