WiFi or wireless access is getting quite common these days, in homes and in public places like cafes and airports. Here’s a few essential tips for anyone who uses WiFi at home:
- Secure your home WiFi access point by setting a password for the wireless network at the bare minimum. If you can change the protocol, change it to WPA-PSK as well.
- Next you can limit the number of IP addresses that the built-in DHCP will dole out (eg. set it to 1 if you are the only one using it). This way even if someone cracks your password, they still can’t “grab” an IP address and join the network.
- But then what if the smart leecher assigns themself their own IP address, you ask? You can lock it down further by limiting WiFi access to specificied MAC addresses – the unique number associated with each and every network card in the world (eg. your own).
Now what about public WiFi in cafes and airports?
- Always, ALWAYS have your firewall turned on. The built-in Windows one or anything else.
- Make sure that none of your Windows folders are shared out.
- You can use VPNs – Virtual Private Networks. This will encrypt traffic to and from your laptop so that other users of the same public WiFi cannot sniff out your passwords etc. But it is hard even for a techie to set up and most times it slow things down. If the sites that you are visiting are using HTTPS (or in layman’s terms, you see the little lock icon at the bottom of your browser), then the traffic to those sites are encrypted anyway.
- If one is paranoid, before leaving the premise change the passwords to the sites that you did visit.
- It’s also a good idea to not spend the whole day on the same public WiFi. This reduces the window of opportunity for someone to attempt to hack in to your laptop, or to sniff out more of your traffic.
- Is it me or are there a lot of ppl who like to be seen in public using their laptops? There must be some coolness factor that I’m not comprehending.
- I may lust after a MacBook Pro but I still like working on my desktop PC at home. And when I’m out, I want to be doing other things than tapping away on my laptop! Coffee or no coffee! 😛
- And don’t call it a “lappy”!