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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Tips For Mobile Security - Public WiFi

If you choose a Wi-Fi connection from a public facility, how do you ensure that the data is secure?

This is where you need to put on your tech hat to properly secure mobile data. Be very careful, because data sent over public Wi-Fi networks is usually totally insecure unless you take proactive security measures. Public networks do not provide encryption between your mobile device and nearby access points, so it's up to you to implement a form of end-to-end encryption between your laptop and the server that you're communicating with. (continued...)

Ensure that your e-mail login and e-mail transfer use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. If not, hackers can read your e-mails as they're flying through the air. To do this, ask for help, either from your organization's help desk or from your software vendor.

Only use secure (SSL) Web sites when placing credit card orders over the Internet. Most sites offer SSL, but not all of them. Without a secure site, you're broadcasting credit card numbers to potential hackers in the area. You'll know you are using a secure site if a little icon that looks like a lock appears on the status bar of your Web browser.

When accessing corporate servers and applications, use VPN (virtual private network) client software on your mobile device. (Most larger companies require the use of VPNs when employees use Wi-Fi and Ethernet public networks.) The VPN client communicates with the corporate server and encrypts everything on an end-to-end basis. Thus, hackers sniffing the air for your data packets won't be able to read anything intelligible.

Maybe you don't work for a company that has VPN services? If this is true, then consider a for-hire VPN service. This is a good way to get on board with wireless security if your company isn't quite there yet.

Source: InformationWeek

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