SOLVED Is free wi-fi safe today?


catilley1092

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This has been a topic of discussion for years now, but I'm wondering if things have improved. I have my own wireless internet modem for purchasing, checking emails, etc. But I live in an area where there are 4 legal "hotspots". Two of them are local cafes, one is the public library, and the other is a friendly neighbor who provides a unsecured "guest" network. That one has a "N" type router and I have a B,G and N adapter, and the connection is lightning fast (Earthlink). The library isn't bad,either. As the OS's and virus and malware protection is better than ever, is the Windows firewall as good as the rest of Windows 7? I have no open ports or "backdoor" as it was once called. As long as I'm browsing, downloading and even on this forum, am I safe enough? I always thought that was what the firewall is for, and it should be more secure than ever now. Am I correct in my assumption? I've been using public networks for three years now with only one problem, and even my paid modem wouldn't have caught it. I simply clicked onto the wrong link, and I'm sure that it's happened to most of us. I used the free Avast virus cleaning tool to clean it up, then scanned with Windows Live Safety Scanner. It was called a swisser virus, or something to that nature. That was a year ago. This is a topic that I've yet to see on here, is free wi-fi safe today?
 

Veedaz

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Hi catilley

I don't use free wi-fi my self but if your behind a decent firewall and your home network is encrypted your reasonably safe, for added safety you may use a VPN connection at the very least, use a hotspot that has WPA2 security. Not every public hotspot offers WPA2, though.
 
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Ian

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Your PC may be safe from malware if you have a good firewall/anti-virus... however your data that is sent over the wifi network won't be secure.

Anything that is sent/received over a public network has the potential to be intercepted and read (including passwords for pop3, webmail etc...). It is unlikely this will happen if you trust the provided of the wifi hotspot, but there have been cases where people open up a "free" wifi hotspot in hotels/business locations to siphon information from people that surf there.
 

catilley1092

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I never use these connections for emails or purchasing, that's way too risky. But I use them for general browsing every day. If I were to use my paid connection for everything, after 5GB in the current month the service slows down badly. It's supposed to be unlimited and it is, but they feel that going over 5GB is costly to them. I can understand that, I'm only paying $40 a month for the same service that costs $60 through AT&T and Verizon. It's wireless, but it shows up as a dial up connection on my computer. I don't think it's true 3G service. It's Cricket Wireless.
 
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catilley1092

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I'm not exactly crazy about it myself, I just need my own service for purchases, checking emails, any site that I have to provide a password. It's certainly not the best there is, but there's no hassles getting the service, no credit check, etc. Anything other than the above, I use hotspots. It's a lot faster. Otherwise, Cricket is at least $20 cheaper than the competition. When my Verizon phone contract runs out in July, I'm switching to them on that, too. For the same price that I pay for 450 minutes for, I can get unlimited anytime minutes with no long distance or roaming charges. And since both services will be under the same roof, I'll save $10 a month. They're not the premier company by any means, but price and availability to everyone keeps them in business.
 
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