WiFi security

This describes how to connect to WiFi networks while keeping some semblance of privacy.

Avoid connecting to unsecured or potentially-untrustworthy WiFi networks.

In addition to fake cell phone towers, your adversary may have also set up WiFi networks intended on tracking you or eavesdropping on your connection when you use them. To avoid this, only connect to secured WiFi networks run by an operator that you can trust.

Only connect to unsecured WiFi networks if you have a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

When you connect to a WiFi network without password, you should assume that none of your traffic is private. These unsecured networks are commonly offered at Starbucks and other coffee shops. It is best to avoid them unless you are also using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Watch out for WiFi networks with weak security.

WEP and WPA are the names of two WiFi security standards that are considered weak in modern times. WPA2 Personal and WPA2 Enterprise are currently the standards of choice.

Check the certificate when connecting to an enterprise WiFi network.

Major WiFi networks run by corporations, universities, and governments are typically secured with a certificate. The first time you connect with these networks, you should check the certificate to see if it is legitimate. The IT department that runs WiFi network can provide you with instructions on how to do this.

Remember that connecting to the Internet might prompt programs on your computer to automatically send data.

Many computer programs periodically make connections to remote servers. These connections may de-anonymize you and reveal your locations. Some programs that do this include:

  • Mail clients that periodically check for new mail.

  • Proprietary programs that check a central server to make sure that you paid for the program.

  • Software that sends a bug report to the developer whenever it crashes.

  • Malware that connects to a command-and- control server to receive new instructions and to send your personal information.