Security 101: April 2013

Is public WiFi connection safe enough with only firewall as our protection against identity theft and phishing?

First of all, a firewall will not protect you against identity theft and phishing.  Second, a public WiFi is as secure as its encryption is. Many public WiFi servicess are not protected at all or are using an easy to crack encryption (like WEP). If the WiFi you’re connecting to is having at least one of these problems, then it is not safe to log onto it. Even a firewall would not help you. In such situations it is recommended to use an encrypted VPN (virtual private network) connection. In order to protect against identity theft and phishing you need a security suite that has good web filtering, real time antivirus, as well as a comprehensive detection suite for weeding out root kits and key-loggers. Last but not least, a firewall, while not effective against phishing attacks, is still necessary as a protective service. This means, it’s definitely a good thing to have.

 

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Are location services that mobile and notebooks utilize safe to use or must we disable it completely?

The best thing to do is to enable location services only for apps that really need it. It’s definitely not for all to use. Enabling for all services also means the battery of your device will be more used than what is normally expected. Also be careful when you take pictures and post them somewhere. Usually the geolocation information is embedded in the picture and anyone who sees the picture will see where it was taken. Associating the location with the time when the picture was taken can have potential bad consequences for your security. Imagine that you post at 12:00 a picture containing the location where you are. In that moment, everybody would know that you’re not, for example, at home. A burglar would know that would be the best time to enter in your house unnoticed.