Wireless - Why Do I Need Security?
Gaining access to a computer and the internet through someone else’s computer is a full time job for some of people and the determined hackers have sophisticated tools that will crack into an unsecured wireless computer or network in a very short time. The one thing that deters all of the above is security. Any type of deliberate access, can be avoided with good security. Unfortunately, many people have little or no security set up on their wireless PC or network. Setting up security can even prevent determined hackers from getting into your network, because they will often bypass a computer if they have to spend time breaking into it. There are so many insecure wireless PC’s that they don’t have to work to get access to, that if yours is secure there is much less likelihood of you becoming a victim.
First and most innocent, are the accidental connections to other wireless computers:
- Your neighbours may end up connecting to your wireless computer because it is not secured, just by allowing Windows to search for other networks
- A person tries to connect with their own wireless equipment and your signal is stronger than theirs, so they accidentally connect to the unsecured wireless PC with the stronger signal.
There are the kids who find it a challenge to see how many wireless computers they can get access to:
- It is a game with them, but they sometimes leave unpleasant things behind that will cause you problems just to say they have been into your PC.
There are the bandwidth thieves who have variety of reasons, from unpleasant to criminal, for wanting to use your internet connection instead of their own:
- Anyone who is losing their signal strength and is physically within your area can connect to your computer and use your bandwidth to connect to the Internet if you do not have your PC or network secured. These people usually do not do damage, steal anything or leave anything behind, they just wanted your internet connection to do what they needed to do.
- As above there are people who drive around and connect to the unsecured wireless computer with the strongest signal, just to access the internet to read their email.
- Another type may want to send email to an illicit friend, or visit porn sites without their mate knowing about it, or gamble on the internet, so they use your computer for their illicit activities. This may leave junk on your PC because these websites often download junk. Or it might get you in trouble with your mate if your mate finds the websites in the Internet history.
- Some may want to send spam or trojans or viruses to a large number of people and if they used their own ISP they would quickly lose their Internet access and probably be charged.
There is the criminal element who want access to your Hard Drive to steal what they can find. They are usually looking for the following:
- Financial information stored on your computer
- Bank Account numbers and passwords
- Family Pictures they can use for criminal purposes
- Credit Card numbers
- Medical or Legal records are worth a lot of money
- Access to your company network through your computer to steal information.
- Identity Theft: a very active criminal element who want to steal your Identity. This group can do you a lot of harm.
Ask yourself what you have to lose on your PC, that you would not like to share with your neighbour, someone driving by, or a hacker : contents of your hard drive, email, financial information, credit card numbers, bank passwords, family pictures, shared documents or even access to your companies network.