August 23, 2006
News & Opinion: Killing time at the airport
New York Times talks about the safety of WiFi at airports and other public places. Some good advice.
"Robert Vamosi, a senior editor with the online technology publisher CNET, said wireless networks at airports or for that matter, hotels or cafes are not as secure as most people think.
Someone may have some software on their computer that allows them to look at all the wireless transactions going on around them and capture packets that are floating between the laptop and the wireless access point, he said.
These software programs are called packet sniffers and many can be downloaded free online. They are typically set up to capture passwords, credit card numbers and bank account information which is why Mr. Vamosi says shopping on the Web is not a great way to kill time during a flight delay.
Where Id draw the line is putting in your bank account information or credit card number, he said, adding that checking e-mail messages probably is not that risky, but if you want to be cautious, change your password once you are on a secure connection again."