For many Windows Secrets readers, the holidays mean travel. Here are tips for protecting your data when connected to shared networks in hotels, restaurants, airports, and other public places.
Plus: The free Detekt tool is an anti-spyware scanner for people in extreme circumstances.
Four ways to protect yourself on unsecured nets
Reader Rick Koch’s questions about hotel Wi-Fi security bring up a broader discussion about safely connecting to any public or semi-public network — whether it’s at a coffee shop, restaurant, hotel, airport, library, or similar location.
- “I recently stayed at a [major chain] hotel and was provided a complimentary password to access the Internet over its network.
“When I asked whether I’d have a secure wireless connection, the hotel staff stated that both the wireless and wired connections were secure.
“But my laptop identified the connection as unsecured — nothing was encrypted with WPA, WPA2, or WEP. The hotel’s Wi-Fi password simply let me access the network.
“A discussion with the hotel’s Internet tech support confirmed that no WPA, WPA2, or WEP encryption was in use. But the support person was adamant that wireless connections were secure.
“I didn’t agree, so I used the wired connection.