Security Caution for Wi-Fi users  

Posted by Laptop Tips

The increasing incorporation of technology into daily life has spawned hands-free cell phone devices, hand-held and laptop computers and, more recently, wireless networks in such public places as restaurants.

For many, it’s a matter of convenience. A business person may check investments online during lunch, while a college student surfs the Web while making a stop for coffee.

While these “wireless hotspots” offer their customers convenience, they also pose a potential security threat to their users, according to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Madigan recently urged Illinois consumers to be cautious when using wireless, or “Wi-Fi” networks offered in public places to avoid attacks that can mimic the characteristics of the legitimate wireless network.

“When you turn on a computer, you have options as to what network you want to connect.
You may see a choice for coffee shop Internet connection, the legitimate one, or one that says free connection,” said Gail O’Connor, deputy press secretary for the attorney general’s office.

“Of course the consumer thinks, ‘Oh, I should get the free one,’ but it’s not the legitimate” one.

When a wireless computer is turned on in a public place offering a wireless Internet connection, the computer sends out a signal that has to be received by a wireless network, O’Connor said.

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