Losing the cord gives freedom to laptop users. Wireless Internet access is everywhere these days, with nearly 30,000 "hot spots" in the U.S. alone, yet the liberty comes at a price.
Richard Rushing says, "Understand that the information you're sending is very similar to standing up here in the park and shouting out all the information. Would I normally do that?"
Consultant Richard Rushing's job is to strengthen the security of wireless networks. He says many people don't realize they could have all their personal data stolen while reading the latest headlines.
"It's great to be able to sit somewhere and work without having any wires attached, no nothing attached, but you have that risk that it comes back to."
To illustrate how vulnerable wireless networks can be, Rushing sends an e-mail, then intercepts the entire contents of his message. He could have done that to any of the dozens of people sitting nearby.
"At any point in time I can reach out and touch everyone's laptop at the hot spot, and there's usually not any way of preventing that, from me touching and looking at other people’s stuff at the hot spot itself."
And he says anybody with a little know-how and the right tools could break into the basic level of wireless security. There are even how-to video instructions online.
Bottom line: imagine nothing is truly private.
"A lot of the time you really want to stay away from doing certain things at the hot spot that you would normally not do if you knew somebody would be watching."
Wireless offers a good chance to check out the baseball scores, but even if you are sitting all alone it doesn't not mean you are all alone. It may have no wires attached, but it still comes with strings.
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