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Saturday, June 30, 2018

What is WiFI and how do I make it secure?

tangled cordsMost of us hate all of the cords that plague our lives these days. It is such a relief to have wireless connection to the Internet and good computer batteries so that you can take your laptop and work anywhere. Many people don't understand how that can happen because it is invisible, but it is important to understand a bit.

Wireless computers use WIFI to connect to the Internet. WIFI is like a radio signal that floats in the air invisibly. At your routerhome it comes from a box (router) that is connected by a wire to the Internet. The box converts that signal into a WIFI connection. You are paying someone to provide this service (similar to cable for your TV, but wireless).  Maybe it is ATT, Time Warner (which is now ATT!). Google Fiber or Grande. They come to your house, set up the box and maybe even put the password into your computer, so it just works!

List of WIFI signalsYou need to understand this because the signals that are floating around the air can be captured by ANY computer. Most connections are protected, so only people who know the password can access the WIFI. This is good. It means that no one can sit outside of your house in a car and access your WIFI. This list is what WIFI connections my computer senses. They all have locks next to their name. That means they are password protected and I would need the password to use the WIFI.

When you go to a coffee shop or airport or anywhere else that has either a WIFI connection that does not have a password OR a password that they give out freely to anyone in that location, it means that ANYONE who is on the same connection can theoretically connect to your computer. If you are just using your computer for something local, like Word; or to browse the Internet to read the news or your email this is not a big problem. However, if you are logging into your bank or purchasing something and entering your credit card information it is like you are giving it out to anyone in the space. Most people would be honest and not pay any attention, but you never know when there is someone who knows how to misuse that information for their benefit.

So, make sure you have a good password on your WIFI connection and be careful how you use it when you are in a coffee shop.

This is a great article that will tell you more important things about making sure you have a secure connection to the Internet. If you have any questions about this just call!