Safely Utilizing Wireless Networks on a Desktop Computer
With the proliferation of wireless networks comes the salivation of computer hackers and identity thieves. Not to worry though, with a few simple steps an ordinary computer user can be almost certain that his sensitive data and internet activities will remain anonymous:
Step 1: While seemingly obvious, NEVER connect to an unsecured wireless network. Any individual with half a brain and a packet sniffer can easily decipher your data.
Step 2: Certainly less obvious, nevertheless vital, whenever connecting to a secured wireless network try to use one that is WPA encrypted. Routers are commonly encrypted with WEP, however, nefarious individuals can use a operating system called Backtrack that can easily crack this type of encryption and wreak havoc on you.
Step 3: Ensure your computer has a reputable anti virus program and spyware detector that is constantly updated and runs weekly scans.
Step 4: Whenever inputting sensitive data such as bank account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers etc. check your web browser to see that the URL has a https:// in the beginning which signifies that it is running under SSL security; this almost ensures your data will be handled with the utmost security.
For Further Reading: There are a plethora of other ways (free and monetized) that can provide even further protection while utilizing wireless networks. Other ways of ensuring fully encrypted and anonymous browsing are not limited to: utilizing free and paid proxies within your browser or outside, paying for or using a free VPN( Virtual Private Network).