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eschamp

join:2003-10-12
Columbus, NJ

Security of a Public Access Wireless Access Point

I recently read this: "Hotels make it so easy to access their High-speed Internet access. Sometimes it’s just available automatically throughout the building, and at other times they give you a passcode. However, if it’s that easy for you to access the Internet, it’s also that easy for others to access your information."

How does a person on that network access "my information"?

Sorry for the naive question.



nwrickert
sand groper
Premium,MVM
join:2004-09-04
Geneva, IL
kudos:7
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

1 recommendation

said by eschamp:

How does a person on that network access "my information"?

If the network is not encrypted (typical of hotels), then they can just capture packets. However, the chances are that there isn't much in those packets that would worry you. Your important connections, such as to banking sites, should be using ssl encryption.

If your computer has setup file sharing, then perhaps they can see files on your computer. Personally, I do not do any file sharing on a laptop. That is, I can see files from my desktop, but my desktop cannot see files on my laptop.

Even that should not be a risk if you are careful. Recent windows versions will ask if the network is home or public, and only share on the home network. As long as you do not make the mistake of declaring the hotel network to be a home network, you are probably okay.

There is a risk of somebody setting up a trojan DNS server. I have not seen this happen at hotel sites, though I haven't used them that often.

If you exercise reasonable caution, and pay attention to security warnings (such as certificate problems), the risk is pretty small for most people.
--
AT&T Uverse; Buffalo WHR-300HP router (behind the 2wire gateway); openSuSE 12.3; firefox 21.0

eschamp

join:2003-10-12
Columbus, NJ

1 edit

Is it true that anyone on a network can capture packets from anyone else on that network?

Would requiring a password on shares be sufficient?



SoonerAl
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-23
Norman, OK
kudos:5

said by eschamp:

Is it true that anyone on a network can capture packets from anyone else on that network?

Would requiring a password on shares be sufficient?

It's best to use a software firewall that disables file sharing on public networks...

I have some comments here...

»Re: Taveling with laptop for the first time, what to watch out f

eschamp

join:2003-10-12
Columbus, NJ

Thanks.


HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:18

1 recommendation

reply to eschamp

said by eschamp:

How does a person on that network access "my information"?

Besides the points nwrickert See Profile mentioned, there's also port vulnerabilites and OS vilnerabilities
that someone could exploit, so shutting down unneeded services and ensuring OS patches are installed is
also a good idea.

said by eschamp:

Is it true that anyone on a network can capture packets from anyone else on that network?

Short answer : yes. Look up a program called wireshark and run it on your home network.

said by eschamp:

Would requiring a password on shares be sufficient?

Not entirely, see my point above. Also, see about the concept of brute forcing a password.

My 00000010bits

Regards

nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ

1 recommendation

reply to nwrickert

said by nwrickert:

There is a risk of somebody setting up a trojan DNS server. I have not seen this happen at hotel sites, though I haven't used them that often.

Option is to just set your own DNS servers on the laptop and not let them be randomly assigned.