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Wi-fi users: practice safe surfing

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Naperville is at the forefront in yet another category: free, wireless Internet access. At least for a 60-day trial period in the immediate downtown area. But before you grab your laptop and head to Starbucks, there's something you need to know about security.

Maybe this is obvious to everyone, maybe not. But wi-fi isn't secure, and it never will be. So while it may be convenient for checking ballgame scores, you don't want to use it for banking or shopping that involves confidential information that can be hacked. And it's slow, so if you're used to high-speed video, etc., at home, be prepared and be patient.

Given that, what you think of Wi-fi downtown? Is this something you're likely to check out once, consider using on a regular basis if it becomes available, or something you don't care much about at all?

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I think it is great. I was really dissapointed to see Chicago drop it's plans for a city wide wi-fi solution that would have brought free or cheap internet access to many who would otherwise not be able to afford it. As a web developer and someone who is deep into techie matters, I see this as the way of the future. The days of having to subscribe to an internet provider are quickly going to become a memory and free or cheap access provided by municipalities will be the way to go. I also agree with Joe...more people coming to Naperville means more people to spend money at Naperville businesses.

On the security issue, it's also not as insecure as the fearmongers amongst us would like to make it out to be. The first supposition is that there are hackers behind every tree (replacing the old cold war thought that there is a commie behind every tree). While taking good security measures is a smart thing to do, acting like a paranoid coke addict is not. If if you are on your wired conenction at home, a hacker can still sniff packets on the network you are on and capture data...if it is not properly secured and encrypted. Most conenctions to banks use SSL and other security measures to ensure that your data is not caputured.

I have wifi at home (802.11g) and I have no problem with video or even online gaming. With the new 802.11n rougters and cards, the speeds are even greater.

Eric Roberts
Three Ravens Consulting

Simple measures such as firewalling and setting up proper profiles for your wireless connections will prevent all but the most determined hackers from gaining access to your computer and data. Nothing will prevent someone that is determined to gain access to your system (other than shutting it off).

What's the hangup with other residents coming to Naperville? They'll be pumping $$ into our local economy. Let them come. That's a good thing.

I hope the prejudicial comments are just sarcasm and not true sentiment.

If they are driving for free wifi access, they'll just sit at their local Panera for free wifi and save the gas money. Then again, w/ the price of gas they'll buy their own cheap wifi router and stay at home.

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This page contains a single entry by Naperville Sun editors published on September 23, 2007 10:16 AM.

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