Wireless Security Note

In July, checkout our Computer-Hacking Demo by professor of physics and information technology, Joe DeLeone. He’ll set up a network, and a Windows 10 computer, and claims he can get into it in 5 minutes or less. He spoke here recently about wireless security; here are a few highlights from his talk (and my notes):

What is most secure? 

  • A wired connection (Ethernet to cable) at your home or office, because someone would have to physically connect in order to snoop and you likely only let people you trust near your computer
  • Documents and personal files that are stored in a location that is not always connected to the internet
  • Set up a separate password-protected wireless network for guests–most routers come with an easy  option for this with no added cost
  • Never give out your home network password, and make the password about 20 characters (a strong password draws from multiple character sets and doesn’t use common letter substitutions or words anyone could find in a dictionary)

Cellular networks are often more secure than wireless networks at this time. Professor DeLeone’s advice is to get one of those “unlimited” data plans and use it whenever you’re away from your home network. Every smartphone now has the ability to generate a “personal hotspot” to which your non-cellular devices can connect. He also recommends Apple products because they’re much harder to affect.

Tips for avoiding hardship:

  • Hotel networks are the worst because it’s very easy to be fooled without realizing you’re not connecting to what you want and the network itself could be compromised.
  • Never let your credit card out of your sight where someone could quickly photograph it. That’s you’re bank account. Restaurants are the #1 place for your information to be stolen.
  • Celebrate https because the S is for security and it encrypts the website you are visiting. Hackers could see what website, but not information processed while you were there.

Healthy security habits avoid the worst security risk: being “low-hanging fruit” or an “easy target:”

  • Click carefully and intentionally (clicking on anything and everything can burn through your luck)
  • Diligently install software and operating system updates (out of date often means known loopholes available for exploitation)
  • Do not download files you did not request (confirm with even known senders whenever possible)
  • Hover your mouse over web links and email addresses to see that they are what you expect and want before you click.


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