Have you heard rumors about wi-fi safety? Are you concerned about your security when you access the Internet through a wi-fi location? If you are concerned by these types of rumors and issues you are not alone. There are many who have been apprehensive about using wireless Internet connections because of these fears. This article will debunk some of the popular wi-fi security and safety myths.
Fairly recently a BBC documentary caused widespread panic and resulted in schools in the UK frantically eliminating wi-fi usage among students. These rash decisions were made in light of comments made during the documentary Panorama. These comments alluded to the fact that radiation levels emitting from these wireless sources posed a public health threat to students. It was eventually determined that the documentary had presented a biased opinion of the issue and a note was added to inform viewers that the documentary was not necessarily a reflection of the scientific opinion of the matter. This simple example illustrates how quickly public opinion can be influenced. However, despite this incident it is important to note many scientists do not feel as though the radiation emitted from wireless devices poses a serious public health threat.
The above example illustrates an unfounded health concern regarding the use of wi-fi. However, the more common security and safety concerns related to wi-fi pertain to issues of identity theft. There is some truth to the fact that wi-fi users are somewhat vulnerable to having sensitive information stolen when accessing a wi-fi hotspot. However, there are a number of steps these users can take to minimize these risks.
First be careful about where you connect. If you leave your automatic connect feature enabled you do not remain in complete control over when and where you access the Internet through wireless connection. Disabling this feature may cost you a little bit of extra time each time you want to connect but it is safer in the long run. By maintaining control over when and where you connect you also maintain a greater level of security. However, when you are completely unaware that your laptop is connected to a wi-fi connection you become vulnerable.
Consider investing in a wireless broadband account. This will give you the opportunity to connect to 3G cellular networks instead of a public 802.11 wireless network. Generally a 3G connection will be more secure although it will not be completely hack-proof. 3G connections are also typically more reliable as well.
Next you should consider changing your default router name. Typically the default SSID is easily recognizable. Most have names such as Linksys, D-Link or Netgear which are very well known among hackers. By changing this default name to something original which will be difficult to guess, you are greatly improving the security of your computer. You should also change the default admin ID and password for your router and enable some form of encryption.
Finally, use some common sense when using wi-fi for Internet access. Avoid logging into your bank account, placing orders online when using wi-fi hotspots or engaging in any other type of activity where you are divulging sensitive data. Save these types of activities for another time when you are accessing the Internet from a secure location such as your home office.