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Old 03-04-2011, 05:35 PM   #1
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free wifi and hot spots


I'm now the owner of a new laptop.

Before I venture into a coffee shop and or other hot spot.
Should I be aware of danger ? like spyware or someone invading my
computer? Stealing information or hacking into my files.

I'm open for suggestions

Thanks
Robut

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Old 03-04-2011, 05:39 PM   #2
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free wifi and hot spots


As long as you are connecting behind a firewall no there is no danger, make sure you keep you virus software uptodate.

Mark

Edit - I use a portable hard drive in which I keep all my files, the laptop is virtually empty of information, I have been doing this for years and have never had a laptop issues, where-by it bogs down because of capacity.

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Old 03-05-2011, 11:24 AM   #3
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free wifi and hot spots


What kind of laptop? Is it Windows based? In Windows 7 when you connect to the new network it'll prompt you for the type of network. Make sure you choose Public. Actually Public is the best setting even for home use. Win7 has a decent firewall built in but make sure you have a good AV running. Avast and MSE are free. Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware are good additions to do quick scans after being on a public network. I'd also use Firefox as you web browser of choice instead of Internet Explorer. Add the Adblock Plus and NoScript extensions to it for much greater security. And of course avoid online shopping or banking on a public network. Anything that involves the transfer of money or logging in to important sites should be reserved for home use.
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:34 PM   #4
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free wifi and hot spots


My laptop, with Vista, has only been used at home. Is there a way to set it so it will automatically log in to wireless at motels, MickeyDs etc. I am going on a trip in a couple months.
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Old 03-05-2011, 06:08 PM   #5
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free wifi and hot spots


Quote:
Originally Posted by rusty baker View Post
My laptop, with Vista, has only been used at home. Is there a way to set it so it will automatically log in to wireless at motels, MickeyDs etc. I am going on a trip in a couple months.
I think you'll have to log into the public wifi's manually the first time, but once you do it once at each hotspot, it will reconnect automatically when you return to that locale, if you put an x in the checkbook to "automatically connect to this network"
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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If the network is not secured it will probably pick up the signal automatically. If it is secured you'll need the key string from the owner of the network to access it. If it doesn't pick up automatically it'll probably still find it and you'll just have to tell it to connect.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:17 PM   #7
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free wifi and hot spots


I would not under any circumstances browse a website and enter credentials or other personal information unless my connection to the website was HTTPS, which is secure and encrypted. Most financial sites will require a HTTPS connection when you log in but many other websites, such as Facebook, do not. And your connection should be HTTPS *throughout the entire browsing session* not just during the login process.

When you are connected by HTTPS to a website the beginning of your URL in your browser address bar will be "https://www.yadayada..." instead of "http://www.yadayada..."

Here is an example of why you should do this:

http://codebutler.com/firesheep

Last edited by Ironlight; 04-17-2011 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:22 AM   #8
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free wifi and hot spots


To be safe, make sure file sharing is turned off when using a public internet network. And as mentioned, that your firewall is up. Some public wifi sites will ask you for permission to punch a hole in the firewall. Be careful.

I've never had problems at restaurants, coffee shops, bars and so forth. I would not trust a free airport connection or something at a ballpark.

And depending where you are, look into the newer wireless internet connections. I just have a laptop so my 4G, unlimited service, is $45/month. No contract since I bought the modem for $80. Home and mobile use packages run about $50-60 for unlimited. There are options to drop down to 3G if 4G is not available. My provider is CLEAR and it is not availed in all cities yet. Sprint, Verizon, TMobile/AT&T (and their resellers) are in the fray now too.

My connection is much faster than DSL or cable.

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