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Web Stalkers
Chapter 9 - Self Protection on the Web

Risks of Wireless Communications

Depending on where the wireless network is purchased, some basic instruction should be included on changing default or factory settings during initial setup and use of the computer. The SSID name should be changed to something that would be as difficult as possible for a hacker to guess or determine easily through the use of programs designed to discover such information.  Although it’s easy to remember a last name, it’s a bad idea to use it in the identification of a wireless network.

Assuming that the person war-driving in the neighborhood is able to get the SSID of the family wireless network and it includes the family’s last name. It is then a simple matter of checking the telephone book or doing a quick online search to determine the family’s address.  To add insult to injury, they can do this while logged into the family’s own wireless network.  With name and address information in hand, the hacker is now completely armed to steal the identity of any member of the house.  Some configuration utilities allow users to configure the wireless router to not broadcast the name.  This will make it a bit harder for the drive-by hacker to gain access to a user’s network.

With public wireless access, anyone can see anything that the computer sends or receives.  If a user is accessing a secure website, the information the computer is sending is reasonably secure.  If personal e-mail messages with most web pages or applications are being sent, the user id and password, along with the text of the messages, are available to anyone who cares to look. 

There is a risk when using wireless connections.  Users should always be aware that they are on a wireless network and pay extra attention to the information that they are sending and receiving. The lack of encryption probably presents the biggest security risk when using a wireless network.

The above text is an excerpt from:

Web Stalkers
Protect yourself from Internet Criminals & Psychopaths
ISBN 0-97-45993-9-5

by Donald K. Burleson, Stephen Andert

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