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"FREE" WIFI/"hot spots" - problems? Hacks" - how to avoid and recover from them?

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  • "FREE" WIFI/"hot spots" - problems? Hacks" - how to avoid and recover from them?

    I saw this article regarding "free" WIFI and "hot spots" and how to avoid it and/or recover from it.

    https://askleo.com/how_do_i_use_an_o...ytipsfreewifi=

    Advice?

    Comment?

  • #2
    Look for hot spots run by your internet supplier. I use the major phone company for my internet and they run free hot spots that are secured with just your own e-mail address as listed in your account profile. Not much a hacker can do with that since your e-mail is most likely already out in the wild.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Evan View Post
      Look for hot spots run by your internet supplier. I use the major phone company for my internet and they run free hot spots that are secured with just your own e-mail address as listed in your account profile. Not much a hacker can do with that since your e-mail is most likely already out in the wild.
      You are vulnerable to potentially being hacked by anyone on the same network as you.

      A hacker can easily set up a wireless router that can be extremely difficult for most people to detect, regardless of who is providing the service [a major ISP or a mom&pop coffee shop]. This is the ideal setup for the hacker, as they gain access to all your data traffic, and you'd be surprised how much of your data still passes unencrypted, including some username/passwords, and man-in-the-middle attacks work really well.

      Or the hacker could also be connected to that same network and again, can get a complete copy of all your data traffic, as well as directly try to hack into your computer.

      The tips that the link provides, which is basically that all your communications be encrypted and your computer locked down from virtually all incoming connections, is good advice.

      When you connect to a wireless network, it is extremely hard to be sure you actually are connecting to 'the right one', and it is relatively easy to create a wireless network that mimics a known wireless network.
      Last edited by dave_r; 04-03-2016, 04:33 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dave_r View Post
        When you connect to a wireless network, it is extremely hard to be sure you actually are connecting to 'the right one', and it is relatively easy to create a wireless network that mimics a known wireless network.
        That's why I use my phones own WiFi and the cellular network to get on Internet with a laptop in a public place if needed. That way I'm also not tied to any location to get me an Internet connection and I'm in full control of what I'm connecting to.
        Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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        • #5
          If you have a synology-like NAS you can run a free VPN which allows you to encrypt all your public WiFi traffic for free.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ikdor View Post
            If you have a synology-like NAS you can run a free VPN which allows you to encrypt all your public WiFi traffic for free.
            How do you do that?
            Bill
            I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Seastar View Post
              How do you do that?
              Bill
              NAS or Network Attached Storage units. Its a box that sits on your network with disk drives in it allowing you to store all your information. These devices are now also featuring all sorts of extra features like Virutal Private Network (VPN), media streaming, and virtual machines hosting. So in this case you buy the NAS set it up per the directions and then when you're on the go you can VPN back to your NAS placing you back on your home network.

              https://www.synology.com/en-us/knowl...dows_PC_or_Mac

              PS I've never used Synology so this is not a recommendation.
              Mike
              Central Ohio, USA

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              • #8
                That what I do. I use Cisco connect to VPN into the company I consult for and then out to the internet. Their network is "very well" protected and examines all traffic in and out in real time.. I could do it back to my home network too if I didn't have access to the corp net.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I use secure shell (ssh) to create a tunnel (private virtual circuit) to my personal firewall. It doesn't require installing any software because it's included in Apple's OS X and my Linux firewalls. All my traffic becomes encrypted and my proxy server handles all protocols just as if I were in my home office.

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                  • #10
                    You are vulnerable to potentially being hacked by anyone on the same network as you.


                    That is why I do not ever use any sort of public connection to transmit anything I care about. While I was in Victoria I used hot spots via an old notebook to access Google maps so I could find particular addresses I needed. That notebook has squat on it that matters, none of my online accounts that involve money in any way. That notebook is what I use to monitor my heart rate and breathing. Not much they could do with that data...

                    Another little tip: If you have plain text files that contain anything you care about don't keep it on drive C. Best is to keep it on a USB ram drive and only plug it in when you need it on a public connection. At the least keep it on a different drive. Remove USB ram drive as soon as you are finished. I also do stupid simple things like keeping a list of various numbers that mean something on my desktop but only as an image, not text. Not many hackers are going to care about your wallpaper.

                    The main things you need to care about are anything that can be used for identity theft.
                    Last edited by Evan; 04-04-2016, 01:51 AM.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      The VPN is a good idea. If you set it up correctly, ALL of your traffic goes from your portable to your home network and out to the interent from there. That slows things down a bit, but usually not too bad. If set up wrong, parts of your data go via the VPN and the rest goes directly.

                      Another problem with using a public WiFi is that you end up using the WiFi DNS, which might be sending you to fake PayPal or bank websites.

                      Dan
                      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                      Location: SF East Bay.

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                      • #12
                        So you avoid that by just not using public wifi for anything to do with money, period. These days now that I no longer live in a very isolated country location I also just turn off the net when I'm not using it for a while or when I leave the machine on when going out for a while. I also turn off bluetooth unless I need it. With the smart phone I put it in airplane mode unless I am expecting a call or making one.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by danlb View Post
                          Another problem with using a public WiFi is that you end up using the WiFi DNS, which might be sending you to fake PayPal or bank websites.

                          Dan
                          My tunnel handles DNS, too. I have two bind servers that handle all my DNS. One is in Everett and the other is here in the Okanogan. Or, and I don't think this is much of an improvement, you can set your system to manually override DHCP for name services and use Google's dns server at 8.8.8.8 (IP address).

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