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Do you trust your hotel for Wi-Fi?

By Mark W. Kaelin Editor ·
More and more hotels are rigging up wireless connections for their guests. This is in response to executives' expectations of the same speed and level of connectivity they have at work.

A ubiquitous wireless connection in your hotel sounds great. However, are these "office extensions" providing the same level of security we would demand from our corporate networks?

A post from Del Smith

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I don't need to

by jdmercha In reply to Do you trust your hotel f ...

If I have configured my own computer correctly, and know how to use it, I don't care how secure the hotel's network is. My computer is secure.

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Example of Computer Configured Correctly

by Del Smith In reply to I don't need to

What type of configuration would you recommend?...a personal firewall?

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Configured Correctly

by jdmercha In reply to Example of Computer Confi ...

First make sure all the latest patches and securlty updates have been installed.
Have an up-to-date virus scanner running, set to scan all files on access as well as compressed files and email. Periodiaclly scan the computer for adware. (Especially after you access the Internet from a public network.) Do not install any type of file sharing program. Do not enable microsoft sharing on any folders. And make sure you have a backup of all your critical data.

Personal firewalls work well, but are too complex for most users. When promted by the firewall if they really want to let some data through, people will say yes even if they do not know what the data is related to. Thus they end up allowing everthing through the firewall anyway, rendering it useless.

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A personal firewall is not optional, NAT is better

by Satur9 In reply to Configured Correctly

I am cautious of raw WiFi connections, because a WiFi card (or embedded) offers no more security than a USB ADSL modem, ethernet is much better for security because an ethernet firewall router can provide reliable ingress security.

Sorry, but users must get used to using a personal firewall correctly, no network should be trusted to be 100% secure, even your own LAN can be insecure, it only takes one compromised machine, it is only a matter of time before you get compromised if you are not using a personal firewall. My prefered personal firewall is Agnitum Firewall Pro 2 because it provides flexible, comprehensive protection, especially so if the plug-ins are used.

It is a good idea to have Windows fully patched *, and lock down the Microsoft services and security settings, but accept that some services cannot be secured properly, this is major reason why you need a personal firewall.

* I am quite wary of Windows XP Service Pack 2, since it has new security bugs and network connectivity limitations.

A VPN is a good addition for WAN links, if configured correctly, however the link may not be fully secure without an additional layer of encryption.

Anti-virus and anti-spyware software should also be used, however is it better to stop the threats from installing in the first place e.g. via Microsoft email and web browser software.

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Security on a public link is an oxymoron

by stress junkie In reply to Do you trust your hotel f ...

How can you expect "security" from a link that is open to the hotel guests? What are you expecting in the way of security? Anybody can be a guest of the hotel. Therefore, even if there is some kind of firewall from the hotel to their ISP you still have a limited number of the public that could access the hotel's network.

I agree with the first post. Your computer has to contain whatever is required to provide security. A client based firewall is good for general Internet cruising. Connection to a corporate network should use encryption techniques. The VPN approach is good. You can add another layer of encryption below the VPN at the corporate file server.

The whole question of security at what is essentially a public network makes no sense.

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You information is in the air?

by cfizz34 In reply to Security on a public link ...

So if someone wanted to couldn't they sniff the air waves and get you data transmissions...which contain your personal information. Wouldn't you have to encrypt your sensitive data is using a open WiFi?

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