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Windows 7: Are public Wi Fi spots safe?

04 May 2012   #1
bjclark

Windows 7
 
 
Are public Wi Fi spots safe?

We will be traveling for months here in the US and hope to use our laptop to pay bills. Are public Wi Fi spots safe, and if not, what can we use? Thanks.


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04 May 2012   #2
DustSailor

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Clark,

Usually free wifi in businesses are safe, as they advertise it and allow you to use it (such as starbucks). Most other unsecured wifi is safe, but there is no way to be sure. However, I am sure if no one really wants you driving up and stealing their wifi bandwidth unless they agree to it first. You may just have to find businesses that allow it. They usually have passwords that you have to request.

I am sure it is safe to use more than 95% of all unsecured Wifi networks, but there is always a risk, just as there is always the risk of downloading a virus to your computer when using the internet.
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04 May 2012   #3
Hikertrash

Windows 7 Professional 32bit Sp1
 
 

Since they all seem to have free WiFi now I use McDonalds quite a bit when I'm on the road. Generally there's only one or two others, at most, also with laptops and I highly doubt any of them is hacking my machine.

You could try Comodo's Trust Connect which is said to be safe for public wifi ($19.95 per year)

Wi Fi Security, Wireless Security, Wifi Hotspot Security - COMODO TrustConnect
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04 May 2012   #4
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Make sure your firewall is on, AV software is up to date, and choose public when it asks you for the type of network you join.
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04 May 2012   #5
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Be sure to follow DeaconFrost's advice.

Your main security problem is actually hotspots which are monitoring and recording your data traffic.

My experience has been that a Starbucks hotspot can be trusted. No all McDonalds can. Starbucks will be faster the McDonald's.

If you want to perform banking operations, then use Starbucks or:
The best solution:
Use your Droid phone as a hotspot.
I use my droid daily as a hotspot.
Why? because I do not like being monitored for any reason, especially when I conduct bank transactions.
I do not like the hotspot router placing info on my laptop. On that point a word of advice is to use CCleaner's Registry Cleaner option after you disconnect from a hotspot. This will get rid of some of the info. I have one coffee shop that likes to leave their "flag" entry in my registry. I use CCleaner to get rid of same.

I use Verizon 4G and get excellent performance. Since some of the others have jumped on the 4G wagon, then they could also be just as good.

Once again, use your phone as a hotspot. This is the safe approach and will give you faster performance.
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04 May 2012   #6
DustSailor

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Personally, I wouldn't do any banking in a public place, but if you must, you must. And clearing internet temp files is a good idea afterwards, if you do not mind the hassle of re-entering account log-in info into your favorite websites once more.
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06 May 2012   #7
bjclark

Windows 7
 
 

Thanks for all of the replies. Does it help if the site I visit is https?
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06 May 2012   #8
DustSailor

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
 
 

If you do any banking ever, you better make sure it is https!
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06 May 2012   #9
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bjclark View Post
Thanks for all of the replies. Does it help if the site I visit is https?
Helps but no guarantee if you are using someone else's router.
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 Are public Wi Fi spots safe?




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