Secure Wifi


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Hello, this isn't a question specific to Windows 7, but hoping someone can give me info...

I understand if I connect to an open wifi access point, if I am going to websites that do not use https, other people sitting near by can sniff my packets and see what data is going to / from my computer (or tablet or smartphone).

If I am at home and connecting to my router that is secured with WPA, someone could still sniff my packets, but unless they know my wifi password, it should be all gibberish to them. It doesn't matter if I am going to a website that uses http or https.

My question is when I am connecting to a wifi access point that uses a password, can others sniff my packets and decipher what is going to / from my laptop if they know the wifi password?
 
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Thanks. I meant to say WPA2, not WPA. So I should feel comfortable using an access point that is secured using WPA2 where lots of people around me know the wifi password? One of the reasons I don't use open wifi networks is the ease at which others can see what I am doing.
 

TrainableMan

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Most people couldn't care less so I think you are probably worried for nothing. Do your personal banking and secure business at home and other than that WPA2 should be fine.

I worry more about the Federal Government accessing my phone & email communications than I ever do about kids with a laptop.
 
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You can also turn off Wi-Fi broadcasting on your router, that will help to secure your Wi-Fi one step more.
 

TrainableMan

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Gus, I believe the OP's original question was in regards to using public hotspots and in that case the OP would not have control over the router.

But yes, at home disabling the broadcasting does make it harder for someone nearby to "see" your router but that is very limited protection and can easily be overcome. The WPA2 encryption is the most important and for someone who is particularly wary I would encourage the added protection of using mac addressing to limit access to just specific devices.
 
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Ian

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Although the OP's question is a couple of weeks old, I'd chime in with some extra advice. If I'm using a public hotspot in a hotel or somewhere similar, I usually connect to a personal VPN so that I can make sure my e-mail etc... is relatively secure. You can set one up on your home PC (or some routers/NAS) - or pay for a basic service from someone like WiTopia if you'll use it more frequently.
 

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