By Elinor Mills
November 1, 2010
Chances are you don't leave your front door unlocked. And you shouldn't
leave your Wi-Fi network unsecured either.
Many of you may have heard this before, but many still seem to not be
doing anything about it. You should. Here's why. With a $50 wireless
antenna and the right software a criminal hacker located outside your
building as far as a mile away can capture passwords, e-mail messages,
and any other data being transmitted over your network, and even decrypt
data that is supposedly protected.
Someone could also join the network and launch attacks on your computer
and any other devices using the network at that time. If file sharing
has been left on or the personal firewall is misconfigured it's
relatively easy to access the computer via an open Wi-Fi network.
Someone could upload an executable program to a file on your hard drive
that steals data or just leaves a back door for future access. And if
you are using the network to connect to a corporate network through a
VPN (virtual private network) an attacker can get into the corporate
"The most dangerous thing is a direct attack," Don Bailey, a security
consultant at iSec Partners who is also an expert on telecommunications
snooping, told CNET. "The threat is not only that your traffic can be
sniffed, but that an attacker can get access to all your data and
connections on your computer, even those supposedly secured by SSL
(Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption."
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