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When using a wireless connection at a public access point (hotspot) with your laptop, keep in mind that your connection is unencrypted and unsecure. Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) are inherently insecure, and public hotspots are very insecure. Public wireless hotspots shouldn't be used by computers that contain unencrypted, highly sensitive information.

To maximize your security when using a public wireless hotspot:

1. Use a software firewall (also called "personal firewalls") that runs on your computer.

Put the network in the "untrusted" or "Internet" zone.

Kerio, Sybase, Symantec and ZoneAlarm are well-known makers of software firewalls. The use of wireless hotspots is justification for getting a version of a firewall that supports the feature of control by remote IP address and port number.

A new feature to look for in your software firewall is the ability to automatically detect whether the network is the regular office LAN or an untrusted hotspot and to automatically adjust the security settings appropriately.

2. Have file and printer sharing disabled on your computer, or use strong passwords on all shares.

3. Use VPN to tunnel to your organization's internal network.

4. Encrypt all email that you want to remain confidential.

In other words, you can't trust the wireless protocols to do the encrypting for you, so you should encrypt confidential data before it is submitted for transmission to a public wireless hotspot.

* Continue to practice general security procedures, including: keeping the anti-virus, operating system and applications up-to-date with security and critical fixes; running software firewalls; having on-site and off-site backups; and periodically checking firewall logs for evidence of intrusion attempts.

Other wireless security resources:
/faq/8698
»www.microsoft.com/hardware/broad···nge.mspx
»www.sans.org/rr/catindex.php?cat_id=68
»www.sans.org/rr/papers/index.php?id=1233

VPN Resources:
»www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/home···_vpn.asp
»www.onecomputerguy.com/networking/xp_vpn.htm

Other resources:
BBR Wireless Forum: /forum/wlan
BBR VPN Forum: /forum/vpn
BBR Security Forum: /forum/security,1
BBR Security FAQs: /faq/security
BBR Hardware Support Forum Index: /forums/18

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by keith2468 See Profile edited by JMGullett See Profile
last modified: 2007-06-06 15:55:21