Are wireless connections really insecure and how do you see what others are doing?

by on December 31, 2008

Q: You guys explained that wireless internet connections are not secure, but can anyone one actually see what someone else on another computer on the same household wireless connection is doing online on their computer? Obviously a lot of parents try to monitor their kids’ internet use. If wireless connections are so insecure why does anyone buy and install spyware? And why doesn’t anyone explain HOW you see what someone else is doing online in with a shared wireless Internet connection?

2 Responses to “Are wireless connections really insecure and how do you see what others are doing?”

    I am not sure which answer you read that said wireless internet connections are insecure but the answer should have talked about the fact that it is rather easy to actually secure a wireless connection.

    By default most wireless routers and access points come with no security on them, although that is starting to change, but enabling it is usually as easy as clicking a button on the administrative screen.

    By adding security you make it so only people you want can join the wireless network and the data is encrypted in such a way that no one else can understand what is being sent.

    When it comes to seeing what others on your local network are doing, secured wireless, insecure wireless, or wired, that requires special tools that normally cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

    In short you should never expect what you are doing on the internet to be private unless you are interacting with secure sites though the https protocol.

    Picked as best answer

    I’d like to add to Matt’s comment. Without password security on your WiFi network, it would be very easy for geeks in your neighborhood to spy on your WiFi activities. Luckily, there are several different kinds of WiFi password security. In order from most secure to least secure: WPA2, WPA, WEP Open, and WEP Shared. Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista, and most versions of Mac OS X, and newer WiFi hardware all support the WPA2 standard.

    With just password security, anyone who knows the password to your WiFi network can join that network. In most situations, password security is all you’ll need. But if you want your WiFi connection to be ultra-secure, you can restrict access to only those machines you authorize in your WiFi hardware. This procedure is called setting up a MAC address.

    Does this help?