If you’re like me now, you discovered that the conference you’re at right now has free wifi. Security over wireless internet is not only ideal, it’s vital to protect your audience. I can’t stress enough that security is an expectation that conference attendees need to expect.
Pictured below is an example of 25 seconds of monitoring the connection. A criminal or someone with more malicious intent could effortless jump into your Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Amazon and wreck some havoc. This is the danger of free wifi:
This is done with a tool (free) known as Firesheep. I explained this in-depth about it on my work blog not too long ago. I highly, highly suggest everyone reads it.
So, if you’re reading this, you need to do the following things to secure your Internet connection:
- Clear your cache and cookies in your browsers. They may be used later without your knowledge.
- Connect to your sites via HTTPS/SSL. That means using https://www… of your favorite sites.
- Use Twitter API apps, they use SSL authentication and aren’t easily decrypted.
- If you have to sign into a service insecurely, sign out quickly. Signing out of many services today will invalidate your cookies from others’ being able to use them.
- If at all possible, choose a connection that has a WPA code. This helps increase the trust of the network.
- Limit any and all sensitive communications or activity on an insecured network. (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc.)
The alternative to using a free, insecure wifi connection is to bring your own. Use a 3G/4G dongle with your favorite wireless service. It will also prevent your account from being hijacked.
To prevent this, free wifi distributors need to do two things: secure your network with WPA and lock it down with AP-Isolation. That’s pretty much it. The other side of the problem is on the providers to enforce end-to-end security with every web-based transaction.
Cool? Pass this along to others using the free wifi at your conference.
Image credit: chego101