Connecting to public wifi

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by boxcar, Jun 26, 2008.

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  1. boxcar

    boxcar Registered Member

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    Just wondering exactly how much information is visible just when I connect. That is to say, my system name, OS, etc. I'm not too worried about having other PCs connect to me or anything, as I have file sharing disabled, and have a firewall.

    Obviously all the data is able to be seen and understood, assuming it is not encrypted. With that said, how easy, or likely is it that anyone, or the hotspot owner could spy on me? That is, see what website I am on, and whatever else I am doing online. Thanks for any info, as I am still learning much.
     
  2. GlobalForce

    GlobalForce Regular Poster

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    Welcome ~ dig the nic ~ Boxcar!

    While I can't provide the response I suspect XB might drop, search IT pro Eric Geier for the time being. His writing's, wi-fiplanet .... "Wi-Fi Hotspot Security: The Issues," "Wi-Fi Security Issues Up Close," etc., should cover a few of the area's you've expressed interest in.


    Steve
     
  3. jrmhng

    jrmhng Registered Member

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    If it is not encrypted with WPA, anyone in the area can see ALL content that is flowing to and from your computer. The exception to this is communication that is encrypted end to end such as a vpn tunnel, https connection etc.

    If it is encrypted with WPA, the owner of the hotspot may still see everything that is going to and from your laptop unless you have end to end encryption.
     
  4. OSPA

    OSPA Registered Member

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    Funny story-
    I was at the Microsoft release of Office 2007 when one of their demonstrators was showing off the capabilities of some internet-enabled feature.
    As he goes to connect to the hotel Wifi, the only one to come up was an ad hoc connection called "free public wifi"! If that's not a trap, I don't know what is! :)
    Needless to say, he didn't bother connecting...
     
  5. Hiker

    Hiker Registered Member

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    Anyone? I may be able to, if only I knew how. o_O
     
  6. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    Public WiFi is generally not WPA secured. It would not be publicly available if it were. General rule of thumb if you do use public WiFi, disable file and printer sharing and at the least use Windows FW. Also above all DO NOT use it to transmit any information that you would not freely distribute otherwise. Example(s); I you would not post it on a large billboard along a heavily traveled super highway do not transmit it via a publicly accessed hot spot. ;)
     
  7. sosaiso

    sosaiso Registered Member

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    When you connect to a public network, it seems that your "computer name" is logged.

    1. Are there any implications for this?

    2. Does this give away your MAC address or any unique identifier of your computer?

    3. Any security implications of being logged by the router in public wifi?
     
  8. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    No.

    I believe your MAC is viewable. Again really no security consequences in this instance as far as I know.

    Likely no more then then your ISP logging.

    The danger is in not having unwanted access blocked to your PC and\or in the type of information you transmit.
     
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