11 News Special Report: Internet Security

By: Amanda Wagner Email
By: Amanda Wagner Email

How do we know that our information is being kept safe when we are on-line? It starts with having a secure connection to the internet.

Many of us connect to the internet using a wireless internet connection it removes the hassle of wires and allows those who are on the go to connect in a number of different places. However, being free to connect anywhere may also mean that your information may be free for others to access.

If you use the internet for e–mail or on-line banking, the chances that you are entering sensitive information into your computer are pretty high. So if you knew anyone could access that information, you probably wouldn't be too happy. According to a member of Best Buy's "Geek Squad" Sean Hebein, the typical wireless G router will broadcast around 150 feet. With that distance at least your neighbors are going to be able to find your signal along with anyone driving down the street. Not to mention, the new wireless N technology that just came out actually transmits up to 4 times that amount, it can transmit around 600 feet.

If your network is unsecured a potential criminal can access your files from their computer. It's just a matter of going to network neighborhood, finding the computer and getting on the hard drive. Then, all that information is unsecured so it's just like being right at the computer.

As people learn how to access our information the technology working to keep that information safe is also adapting. A new connection type called WPA or Wi–Fi protected access is fairly new and can offer added protection. "The move from WEP security to WPA has been fairly recent," says Hebein. "They are two different security protocols. The federal government actually just ran a study about WEP security and a couple 14-year-olds were able to break that system in five minutes."

Most of us don't think about the risks but making sure your information is kept in your control can save heartache down the road. If you connect to the internet using an unsecured network but are unsure how to make it secure, there are many technology assistance businesses locally that can help you secure your network such as the Best Buy Geek Squad. You can link to their website by clicking on the link below.


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