Friday, December 12, 2008

Keep Your Passwords Safe on Public Wireless Networks

by: Garnet Bailey

Most people take for granted the security of their computers connection to the outside world. And in many homes and offices this is a reasonably good assumption. But, things do change when someone, armed with a laptop computer and a wireless “WIFI” connection ability visits a local public “hotspot”, perhaps at the local coffee shop.

These type of locations are rapidly growing and provide temporary internet connections to visitors through wireless devices called routers. They offer a convenient way to use your own computer with the internet at little cost to the service owner. These wireless connections, since they are “public”, are not configured with the security and encryption protection that a normal private network should have.

In these locations, it is possible for anyone with minimal hardware and software to eavesdrop on any of the wireless broadcasts that are taking place. And since there is little or no network security, usernames and passwords can be easily stolen.

What is one to do then? Maybe you want to get your email, relax and have a cup of coffee, read your messages and reply to some of them. The best method in this case is to refrain from using your usual email client program (such as Outlook, Eudora, etc.) and instead use your internet provider’s Webmail application. These web based applications will allow you to access your own email accounts without using a resident client program. They are usually provided with each internet service and almost always operate under a SSL (secure sockets layer) secured connection. This means that the connection provided is encrypted and is much more secure. So, if your connection is being taped, monitored or recorded, the content others will be capturing is fully encrypted. Much safer indeed.

On the other hand, if you are wanting to access another application that requires you to provide a username and password and that application does not use a SSL connection, be aware you may be handing your username and password to someone else. You can verify that you are on a SSL secured connection by the small padlock symbol shown by your browser.

If you want to know more about password protection and how to keep your possessions, you identity and your accounts safe see us at We offer simple and easy methods to create secure passwords that can avoid being compromised, and at the same time can easily be remembered. Visit the Easily Create and Remember Secure Passwords web site to learn how easy it really is and breathe easier knowing you have secured your accounts the RIGHT way!