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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! I did a crazy thing and picked up a laptop yesterday! Maybe after nearly three years absent from Catforum I can come back now...

Does anyone know much about using wi fi and wireless networks and such? I can find unprotected networks by my house and I have no idea who they belong to and they just say syslink, and I feel creepy logging on. Are there protocols to logging onto these things? Am I at risk? Eek! Anyone have recommendations for finding easy or cheap internet access besides lurking at coffeeshops?

Anywho, yep...hopefully this time I'm back :) Married now, and life is only a little more settled than it was three years ago, but doing okay. Still have a great job, but found out we don't own our house and after two years of repairing it and planting a magnificent garden, that's a little difficult. Thought me and Rotten and Jessie had found our forever home. Guess I'll have to wait a little longer for that.

See everyone soon...
 

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Most of the time wireless networks you find in your area are secured and require an access code to use. That's how they commonly come from the provider. My network finds several, although I have not tried to connect to them.
 

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My brother is a network specialist and he's told me that logging onto unprotected wifi networks will allow the owners of those networks to open a window into your own computer, if they have the expertise.

As well, I've heard of people driving around with equipment that detects unprotected wifi networks with the express purpose of compromising them for their own uses - if you're logged onto those networks, your computer can get hacked, too.

Sounds too scary for me to use them, but I have no IT security expertise at all.

Good to see you back!!!

AC
 

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In my area you can go to the public library and use their wireless secure network. It's free. I haven't heard of anyone hacking into it - though it being a government network I'm sure it has been tried.
 

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Hey TQ, nice to hear from you again.
Accessing other people's wireless networks without their permission is never a good idea.
 

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Hi Trinity! Good to hear from you and learn that everything is going well, well, other than the possible housing issue. I remember the pics of your graden area, they looked amazing!

I work at our local library and we have WiFi. It works in our building and outside, 24/7. We haven't had any issues with hacking.
 

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Using "public" and "secure network" together is an oxymoron, there is no such thing. A public network doesn't have to be hacked into because anyone can access it. Using public Wi-Fi leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of security issues. There are some encryption programs available to help protect your data, but I'm not familiar with them and don't know how well they work. Using a public (or your neighbor's non-secure) network as a regular means of accessing the internet is not a good idea if you keep any sort of personal info on your computer and don't want to be open to viruses. Even if you don't do anything that requires security while on the public network, someone looking to steal you data can load a program that you'll never know about that will transmit your information at a later time even when you access it from a secure network.

TQ...you might want to look at a package deal with your home phone (if you have one) or cell phone provider.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Great, I've been gone so long I can't remember to check catforum now that I'm back. Thanks for the replies and suggestions, everyone. I was suspicious of using an unknown internet source and those responses backed me up. The libraries are very generous with their internet--so are the bookstore and cafes. The library has plugins at every table! I've been pretty happy with those, and this internet has enabled my husband to get several new job offers! Yay fun.

Hey, has there been any word from Jeanie? I saw a post saying she's had some problems but is doing better. Any further word? The first day I was back I immediately noticed a lack of Jeanie messages and searched until I found on by her, but didn't see a more recent update. I'm worried :(
 

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Well, on the other hand, using an unprotected wi-fi that you find when you're in your house is piggy-backing off someone else. They're paying for the internet and you're using it. I'm not trying to accuse you of anything. They DID ask for it by not setting up their security properly, but yah, as said by others, you are opening yourself up to strangers. Like keeping the door of your house wide open. It's better to just get yourself a provider, set up both hardware and software firewalls etc. Better safe than sorry on the internet.

It's likely you mean linksys which is a router brand name. The names of the networks from the router are by default linksys. These networks are likely ppl who are using a linksys router but failed to set it up properly with a personal name and haven't secured it with a password etc.

As for free wi-fi hotspots or cheap providers, it really depends on where you live. I'm in Canada so not sure if I can help you. Most ppl here are from the States or UK.

Anyways, welcome back. Nice to see you back on although I wasn't around 3 yrs ago. :)
 
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