1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Bradley Mitchell

Using an Unsecured Wireless Network

By January 4, 2006

Follow me on:

| Commentary | A reader recently asked about the risks of using open public WiFi hotspots. These links show as "unsecured wireless connections" on your Windows laptop. Is it safe to use your credit card over such connections? Are there any precautions to take to make your connection more secure?
When using an https:// connection through your Web browser, your personal information is protected, even on otherwise insecure connections. This is generally considered strong enough network security to have when sending your credit card number, for example. At a public hotspot, the greater risk is usually someone situated behind you able to see the numbers you type.

Another security risk on public hotpots involves other computers also connected to this unsecured network. Network attacks can be made through them, by connecting to your computer and possibly downloading information from your hard drive.

People address this latter problem by running a firewall program on their computer. Firewalls guard against these incoming attackers. It is additional considered good practice not to stay connected to unsecured networks for too long of a time to become an attack target. You should always run a good firewall program whenever connected to a "unsecured wireless network" and disconnect when not using your link.

Comments
June 4, 2008 at 12:24 am
(1) chetan says:

if i m travelling and using unsecured wireless n/w e.g airport wireless..is there any possibility to hack my laptops data…my confidential information and if yes how do I avoid it..by applying some settings on my laptop..

August 13, 2008 at 11:35 pm
(2) Steven says:

Chetan, follow the above directions in the article. Install a firewall program, often these are included with antivirus software like McAfee (preferred) or Norton.

November 6, 2008 at 9:43 am
(3) Srinivas says:

wherever i go my laptop finds a wireless network fortunately. I use it. One day i tried to find the system and whether i can access any data. But i could not able to. Maximum, i have found IP of the router. For the owner it is bandwidth problem. Nothing else right? I strongly believe that we cannot access data in their system. Let me know if i am wrong

December 15, 2008 at 10:43 am
(4) Swanand says:

Can accessing IM’s over such unsecured networks compromise on the privacy of the contents of the Chat/ video?

December 16, 2008 at 8:45 pm
(5) MLF says:

Is there a way of finding out if someone is sneaking in on our home network.
Would they leave a trail or telltale signs of being there?
We use Verizon.

January 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm
(6) Nemo says:

Yes you can, but that’s getting pretty technical. If you do a lot of reading and try and fail you can use a program called snort. it’s completely free but not necessarily for the faint of heart, but when used correctly can tell you exactly what’s coming in and out of your computer, and when you use filters it can tell you exactly what should and shouldn’t be going in and out.

March 18, 2009 at 11:19 pm
(7) Kyle says:

@MLF

You can catch them in the act by going to your router settings(check on the box for default url)then navigate your way to DHCP Client List and this will show the name and IP of any computers that are using the wireless connection.

Good luck

March 24, 2009 at 12:16 am
(8) Ben says:

Mentioned earlier is a program (“snort”) which shows what is currently going in and out of your computer.
Well, is there a way to tell a HISTORY of such activity – that is, what stuff has been retrieved in the past via another computer stealing from yours?

December 16, 2009 at 9:06 am
(9) abe says:

hi. im like connected to a unsecured network right now. will something bad happen? i livve in the philippines… in a village. will someone be able to acces my personal info?

January 21, 2010 at 8:51 pm
(10) ddog says:

yes, wild dogs from the woods surrounding your village will sneak into your hut at night and chew your computer to shreds.

February 21, 2010 at 10:17 am
(11) Bol says:

Hi, Email sent from WiFi like from a mall or cafe what ip will they generate? Can I pinpoint the location or just the city?

September 11, 2010 at 12:58 am
(12) Nabin says:

Does using unsecured network causes hack incoming email messages to the inbox…

February 6, 2012 at 4:43 am
(13) mikay says:

i am always connecting to a free wifi or net whenever there is an available wifi connections in my laptop… Is there a possibility that someone can see my cam when I’m using a yahoo messenger? Or is there a possibility that the router can detect the website I am visiting?

October 16, 2012 at 8:29 am
(14) Shelly says:

Would you mind if I quote a small number of your posts as long as
I provide credit and sources returning to your blog:
http://compnetworking.about.com/b/2006/01/04/using-an-unsecured-wireless-network.
htm. I’m going to aslo be sure to give you the appropriate anchortext hyperlink using your blog title: Using an Unsecured Wireless Network. Be sure to let me know if this is okay with you. Many thanks

October 17, 2012 at 5:30 am
(15) Emilio says:

Hi there! This is the third time visiting now and I really just wanted to say I truley relish
reading your blog website. I’ve decided to bookmark it at reddit.com with the title: Using an Unsecured Wireless Network and your Website address: http://compnetworking.about.com/b/2006/01/04/using-an-unsecured-wireless-network.htm. I hope this is all right with you, I’m trying to
give your good blog a bit more exposure. Be back shortly.

February 7, 2013 at 9:50 am
(16) Chris says:

Hi,
I’m at Columbia University in NYC. Yesterday I ordered some books on Amazon, where I had to re-type my card details. I was using a “virtual” debit card that is used exclusively for online purchase, as opposed to a real debit or credit card. The virtual debit card is a bit of plastic with card details, but you cannot use it at an Atm or card reader.
The connection I have been using is public and unsecured, however. What are the risks of someone having retrieved my card data via this network?
Also, I ‘d like to check by online banking. Would you recommend doing that on an unsecured network?
Thanks,
Chris

April 29, 2013 at 6:20 am
(17) Stepanie says:

Hi there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with
us so I came to take a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m
book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
Terrific blog and wonderful design and style.

May 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm
(18) live sex performances says:

WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for adult live sex
chat

June 23, 2013 at 1:54 am
(19) Heather says:

This website was… how do you say it? Relevant!

! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thank you!

July 28, 2013 at 3:30 am
(20) Lakesha says:

Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely fantastic.
I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which
you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of
to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read far more from you.
This is actually a tremendous site.

January 28, 2014 at 1:39 am
(21) hack wifi password in 2014 says:

WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for unsecured wireless network

March 21, 2014 at 10:16 am
(22) https://www.facebook.com/ says:

I blog often and I truly thank you for your information.
This great article has really peaked my interest.
I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week.

I subscribed to your Feed as well.

my webpage … Star Wars Force Collection Hack (<a href=”https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=418903111588024&id=475166602605524&stream_ref=10″>https://www.facebook.com/</a&#062 ;)

April 9, 2014 at 2:27 am
(23) www.facebook.com says:

He currently serves on the faculty of Boston University
School of Medicine, having initially been appointed in 1976.
In the past 20 years, he has made over 2000 presentations that have included
more than 10,000 hours of coaching and HR consulting.
Chopra established a formal vehicle for the expansion of his healing approach using the integration of the best of western medicine with natural healing traditions.

April 10, 2014 at 9:59 am
(24) Http://worldofgames.edublogs.org/2014/03/16/world-at-arms-hack-tool-2014 says:

Hey there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get
a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same
blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
Thanks a lot!

Here is my website – World at Arms Hack (<a href=”http://worldofgames.edublogs.org/2014/03/16/world-at-arms-hack-tool-2014/”>Http://worldofgames.edublogs.org/2014/03/16/world-at-arms-hack-tool-2014</a>)

April 10, 2014 at 11:41 am
(25) wikidot.com says:

Hi there, I found your blog by means of Google at
the same time as looking for a similar matter, your website came up,
it seems great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

Hello there, simply was aware of your weblog thru Google,
and found that it is really informative. I’m gonna
watch out for brussels. I will be grateful in the event you proceed this in future.
Lots of folks will likely be benefited out of your writing.
Cheers!

My web-site … World at Arms Hack (<a href=”http://hackzforu.wikidot.com/world-at-arms-cheats”>wikidot.com</a>)

April 19, 2014 at 2:45 am
(26) Samsung Galaxy S5 Review#Samsung Galaxy S5 Info says:

Everyone loves it whenever people get together and share opinions.
Great website, keep it up!

May 12, 2014 at 6:29 am
(27) modafinil purchase|modafinil price|modafinil online pharmacy|sun pharma modafinil|where to buy modafinil|buy modafinil without prescription|buy modafinil online|modafinil fast delivery|modafinil dosage says:

Wonderful jot down. Let me appear below over and over to the information quest!

May 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm
(28) Www.Twitter.com says:

Great information. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident (stumbleupon).

I have bookmarked it for later!

May 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm
(29) https://www.facebook.com/ says:

I’m no longer sure where you’re getting your info, however good topic.
I must spend a while finding out more or figuring out more.

Thank you for excellent information I used to be in search of this information for my
mission.

Take a look at my web page … Hay Day Hack – <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hay-Day-Hack-Diamonds-gratuits-des-pièces-et-XP/884992344851094″>https://www.facebook.com/</a>,

May 21, 2014 at 8:13 am
(30) amazon promo codes says:

This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader amused.

Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.

I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
Too cool!

May 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm
(31) Peter says:

Here is the deal.

Most websites use https when sending sensitive information. When https precedes the URL you are using, this means that something called Secure Socket Layer(SSL) is being used. This is a protocol the internet uses to encrypt information sent to other servers/computers. When this is in use, sensitive outgoing information from that page is ENCRYPTED. This is a standard, but you should always double check the URL to ensure SSL is being used.

If you are on a insecure network, but the website you are using has the letters “https” that precede the URL, it is generally considered safe to use.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.