If you use WiFi to access the Internet and your session is not encrypted with two WiFi security protocals WEP or WPA everything you do is sent in “clear” text and available for anyone to spy on you. I’m sure the “average” computer user who has no clue how to right click, won’t be reading your online session. But a determined competitor, a tech kid who has too much time or someone else with teh basics of computer knowledge can.
Security Focus has an excellent article on what you can do to protect your online exchanges, “Coffee Shop WiFi for Dummies”. They write That means that unless you’re specifically given a WEP or WPA key to enter, assume that everything your computer is sending or receiving is sent in the clear. Meaning, anyone who knows what they’re doing can see many of your passwords once you type them in. To use that wireless connection securely, then, you need to worry about the programs you’re using to access the Net. By and large, people do three things online: use the web, send and receive email, and IM friends and associates. Sure, lots of programs use the Net in some way, but the three I just mentioned are the biggies, so let’s focus on those.
When you connect to the Internet, especially if you have “vital” data – a list of thousands of customer’s private data, financial information, or other things – BE VERY careful what you do and don’t do online.
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