Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Vermont Bar Journal, Spring 2017, Volume 43, No. 1 - Page 19

by Michael J. Servidio, MCSE of Technology Consultants, Inc. TECH TIPS WARNING: What You Need To Know Before Connecting To A Public Wifi You have probably hopped on a public WiFi network in an airport, hotel, restau- rant or café (If you are like me, I do this every time I am at a McDonalds) to check e-mail, browse Facebook or catch up on work. We all know the risks in using pub- licly accessible WiFi, but do you know just how much information you’re making pub- lic when you connect to these hotspots? How much you expose depends on the sophistication of those who are snooping around. If someone is taking a quick look at the network, they can identify the type of device you are using (iPhone, MacBook, PC, etc.). If a snooper wants further infor- mation, it doesn’t take much effort, thanks to many readily available software pro- grams such as Firesheep and Wireshark. If you have any publicly accessible files (shared documents, music, photos, etc.), all of this can be easily accessed by oth- ers. However, cybercriminals have sophisti- cated tools they can use to access far more than your shared documents, including e- mails, passwords to various sites and other data and history on your device. So what should you do when out and about to get online? The best way to pro- tect yourself is to have your own hotspot, either through your smartphone or a mo- bile router, such as a MiFi, or look for pub- lic networks that are secured. Some es- tablishments offer secured access. Ask for the passkey or other login credentials and make sure the hotspot you’re connecting to IS the right one. Hackers OFTEN set up hotspots with names very similar to legit- imate ones in hopes of tricking you into connecting to the wrong one by accident. If you don’t have access to a personal MiFi or secured connection, then make sure you select “Public Network” when connect- ing with a Windows device (not a Home or Work Network). This will lock down the connection to make sure Windows isn’t sharing any files or sensitive data with oth- er machines on the network. And finally, never shop online, enter a credit card or access financial web sites (your bank) on a public WiFi. Although most financial institutions’ encryption should protect you, why risk it? Wait until you’re on a secured connection before typ- ing in usernames and passwords. Battle of Wits! Last contest, Andy Mikell outwitted us all with his “beyond the pail” cow-milking caption. Bring forth your truly dizzying intellect and join the battle of wits! Montpelier cartoon artist (and lawyer) Kathy Fechter has once again graciously provided us the above cartoon for our fierce competition. Submit your proposed caption to the above pancake vs. waffle cartoon to jeb@vtbar.org. The deadline to submit your caption is May 1, 2017. www.vtbar.org THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • SPRING 2017 19