wifi with no security

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Pat

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I'm in a campground that has wifi, but there is no login or password required.  It's entirely open. 

--What are my risks using this system? 

--What precautions can I take? 

I use Zonealarm for a firewall. 

It's nice having wifi.  Normally I use dialup via cellphone.  14.4 speed.  And, in fact, I go back to the cellphone dialup system for banking and any other personal activities. 

I have "file and printer sharing" deselected in the network settings.

--pat
 

John From Detroit

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Well, Zone Alarm is good,  However that (A completly open public Wi-Fi system which may well have 14 year old hackers using it) is the single most dangerous setting there is. 

So, to work out your risk factor look at what is on your computer.. Is your social security number there, Bank account numbers,  Passwords (open or encrypted) (I do have a file on this computer with passwords but it's very highly encrypted... It's a "Book" type encryption method and the book is my brain.  It is what is called a "Tickler" file, it tickeles my memory, not much use to someone who has not my memory)

The less hacker useable info on your drive. the more secure you are
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Your risks are no greater than if the system used passwords. Since a campground system will have essentially public password anyway (it is given out to strangers every day), you are sharing a network with a bunch of people you don't know. You protect yourself by turning off sharing of any resources on your own machine, as you have already done.

Banking on a wifi internet connection is essentialy no different than a dial-up connection. Your security comes from use of an Https (secure http) to the banking site, not from the physical method of internet access. Just make sure that the URL begins with https: rather than http: when you enter your id and password for your bank account.

Wifi has a slight security exposure that is common to any radio-based access, which includes cell phones.  Somebody who wanted to badly enough could capture the radio waves and decode the traffic, and thus could conceivable learn your passwords and such in that manner. It's a lot of work and there are much easier methods of crime than to try to filter out a few gems of information from the air waves around a campground. I wouldn't worry about it myself.
 

Ned

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As Gary says, it makes no difference if the WiFi connection uses encryption or not, everyone using it is on the same network.  You have done all you can do by turning off file and printer sharing and running a firewall.  As long as your online financial sites use HTTPS everything is encrypted from your computer to theirs and you are at very little risk.
 

Pat

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My password and contact file is password protected itself.  I have only two financial websites, and both are https.  I have Zonealarm set for high security, and I have a whole gob of prohibitions in IE, for whatever that's worth.  The wifi signal out to even this second-row RV site is very weak, and there are no homes 10 times the distance, so I think we're pretty secure just by reason of the weak service.  Sure has been a pleasure updating and downloading in minutes instead of hours with the 14.4 cellhone.

--pat
 

John From Detroit

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I think you have the idea.  Use good firewall, Use good protection DO NOT USE IE (use Firefox or Opera instead) and don't worry about it... Be concerend yes (The steps above express concern) but don't worry.

I mean, it is not like you ticked off a bunch of hackers like I did once

(and I survived)
 

Pat

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How does one tick off hackers?  Kind of like tossing a match into a bonfire.

Quick thought on these campground wifi systems.  Can the activity be monitored by the campground sysop?

--pat
 

Griff

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John, you sound like my techs!!  :) :)  they insist on firefox, however until we updated them recently, they could not access all secured sites.... knock on wood, but I am an IE guy and do a significant amount of online transactions...with no problems.  I used to use coffee shops and the like until getting my aircard.  As an aside however, the "Firefox" boys also are big into "open office" which the new versions are a quite acceptable alternative to many folks who do not want to shell out for Microsoft office.

Pat,  what cellular carrier are you using?  You should be able to connect faster than 14.4 on most all carriers anymore.  It may cost a bit more but is terribly convenient.

Have a great week all!

Griff

 

John From Detroit

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Pat said:
How does one tick off hackers?  Kind of like tossing a match into a bonfire.

Quick thought on these campground wifi systems.  Can the activity be monitored by the campground sysop?

--pat

How does one tick off hackers... Well I was a moderator in an IRC chat room and I kept locking them out so they could not play in that room.  So they tried tons of tricks, all of which failed, to knock me off the net, alas, they could not break my compuserve inspired password, nor could they flood me off with their dial up connections (I was on a T-grade connection using a terminal emulator to access my ISP's shell computer to get on IRC).  The more they tired the wose it got, for them.

One of them finally followed me to a different ISP's IRC server, where he managed to crash their beta server, they spent a couple of grand restoring it and then went on the hunt... This ISP is an internet security agency, tracked down the hacker to a computer in a school in a country where they take the Bible's line "If you hand is in sin cut it off and cast it away from you for it is better to enter heaven miamed than to be sent whole to the fires...."

I'd hate to be that kid
 

Pat

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Griff:  I have Verizon, but I just use the phone and connectivity kit to dial up CompuServe (the CS won't change).  Verizon's DSL or whatever it is is too expensive and too unavailable in the boonies. 

The wifi in the park here is ok but spotty.  I'm guessing when a few of us use it, it bogs down. Sometimes I can't get connected at all, but I just keep trying.  It's much better than nothing.  And it disconnects, like right now.  I'll copy this to Word and log back on and paste. 

JID:  So the assumption is that hackers use their hands?  Well, OK, I can see that.  I was thinking it's really a HEAD game...

--pat
 

John From Detroit

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Pat said:
JID:? So the assumption is that hackers use their hands?? Well, OK, I can see that.? I was thinking it's really a HEAD game...

Don't know about that Pat, (Like the way you think though) Suspect however that since it is the hand that types the command that's how the misled wold interpertet things. 

In any case.. Better him on the chopping block than me
 

Jeff

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Pat said:
Griff:  I have Verizon, but I just use the phone and connectivity kit to dial up CompuServe (the CS won't change).  Verizon's DSL or whatever it is is too expensive and too unavailable in the boonies. 

The wifi in the park here is ok but spotty.  I'm guessing when a few of us use it, it bogs down. Sometimes I can't get connected at all, but I just keep trying.  It's much better than nothing.  And it disconnects, like right now. 

--pat

Pat:

We are at friends in Oklahoma and are about 300-400 feet from their home that has a Linksys WRT54G with no external antennas of any kind and I am receiving a full 54 MBS siganl on my new Hawkings Hi-Gain Wireless-G USB Dish Adapter. It makes WIFI a reliable means of internet connection.

THey are connected to a cable modem that is so fast that I have not been up on the roof to set up Direcway. (Again) ::) ::)
 

Pat

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Payson AZ
Jeff:  My modem's basically the same.  It's a Linksys WUSB54G.  No other antenna.  The signal here is very weak, but there are enough connections that I get by.  It worked better the first week I was here.  Maybe my cat walked on the modem. 

--pat
 
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