Guess what? If you’re using an unencrypted Wi-Fi network, such as in a public place, any data you transmit over that network is inherently insecure and can be intercepted by anyone nearby with the right tools. Wireless is essentially a shared medium that is broadcast via radio waves. Therefore, anyone with a wireless card could monitor your network traffic, which could include passwords, account numbers, etc.
To protect yourself against possible intrusions, follow these general guidelines when connecting to an unencrypted Wi-Fi network, especially when accessing confidential/financial systems or handling important data.
- Turn off your Wi-Fi when away from home or work, if you’re not using it, in order to prevent unintended connections to potentially unsafe wireless networks
- If you have to use a public Wi-Fi, use Virtual Private Networking (VPN), such as Pace VPN (vpn.pace.edu), to create a secure tunnel which ensures that your data is encrypted as it travels over the Internet
- Browse only encrypted Web pages that use HTTPS (check the beginning of the Web address)
- Perform file transfers using encrypted transfer services such as Secure Shell (SSH) protocol, sFTP, FTPS and HTTPS
- Make folders on your computer private – This will make it more difficult for hackers to access your files.
Pace University moved to secure its wireless network in the summer of 2010 and currently encrypts all data traveling over its Pace_Wireless network. This means that the information that travels between your computer and the access point is now encrypted, so it cannot be deciphered by anyone, except by the rightful recipient(s).
For more information on configuring PACE-WIFI on your computer or mobile device, visit the Configuring Wireless page.