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JHC Technology is a Service Disabled, Veteran-Owned, Small Business based in the Washington, DC Metro area. Our primary focus is to offer customized solutions and IT consulting to our Commercial and Government clients. Our experts have a broad experience delivering and managing Microsoft Enterprise applications and Cloud and Virtualization Solutions, as well as mobilizing Enterprise data.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Securing Your Wireless Device?

Anybody who has ever connected to a wireless network has probably done this.
Hold on… let me take a step back. Today I am referring to "wireless" as your standard Wifi (aka 802.11, home network, free coffee Wifi) and not your cellular phone service.
One day you decided to get a wireless router. You set it up and you are off running. You connected your smartphone, tablet, laptops and any other wireless enabled device, but did you ever think how it works and what happens when you are not near your wireless network?
Here is a quick and dirty explanation. When you enable your wireless device, that device starts to call out for all the wireless networks you have ever connected to. These are invisible beacons going through the air asking where is “Linksys”, “Home Wifi”, “GoGoInflight” etc. If you get a response from any device saying that they are “Linksys,” or something else to which you have previously connected, you automatically connect as if magic.

There are several problems with this. First, your device beacons for every single wireless network you have ever connected to. Second, your device can continue to beacon even if you are already connected.
Think like a bad guy. There are many free applications out there that can see every device in their area that beacons. They even see the network the device is looking for. So now they can trick your device to connect to them. If your device does connect, they now have the possibility to pull information from your device, or worse, and this includes stealing bank, work, or e-mail passwords on the fly.

How do you protect yourself? First, turn off your Wifi on your device when it is not in use. Second, if you do connect to free (or paid) Wifi that is not from a trusted site like work or home, then don’t bank or browse to sensitive websites where bad guys can steal your information.
And since you turn your Wifi off, turn your Bluetooth off as well. Conserve your battery while you are at it.

Ernesto Fuller is the Senior Security Administrator for JHC Technology. He can be reached at efuller(at)jhctechnology.com or connect with him on LinkedIn

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