Posted by: sgb on May 15, 2010
Unless you do, the contents of your computer, your emails, are open to the world!
It was reported on BBC News that Google has admitted wrongly collecting samples of emails sent over unsecured W-FI networks over the past three years. This was done while taking photos and videos for their 'street views' in Google maps. Google said it was a test application, wrongly used, and have now asked for an audit of what was collected.
But if Google can do it, guess what, anyone can. I have sat in hotel foyers and read through financial statements of nearby shops. I have read their monthly reports and future projections. I could have - but didn't - subtly changed things, deleted files or hard drives, possibly sent fraudulent emails. All because their Wi-Fi security had not been set up. Maybe I could be a hacker . . . .or a phisher....
As recently reported I have just changed from 3G to ADSL, and connected both the laptops in my house to my Wi-FI router / ADSL modem. It was so simple - almost too simple, and at no stage did it warn me about security. As soon as a friend booted up and enabled Wi-Fi she linked in - automatically - so could use my airtime, my printers and see my computer.
Warned, I straight away checked: set up my router to only allow certain PCs to access it (directly linked to the MAC address of the computer- not password) and checked that my PC was secure, only allowing people to access my printers and shared folders.
I feel safer (computer-wise that is). I still occassionally see my neighbour's computer. Maybe one day I will warn him. Maybe not.