Big Risk If Wireless Internet Networks Left Unprotected - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/20/08

Big Risk If Wireless Internet Networks Left Unprotected

Nowadays, you can take your computer virtually anywhere and be able to access a wireless internet network in minutes.  With everyone going wireless, making sure your network is secure is a must. 

Most people we talked to didn't even realize their wireless network wasn't protected, and leaving your network wide open is essentially an invitation to anyone that can click a mouse.

Identity theft - a thief's job is made even easier with the World Wide Web right at their fingertips. "Basically any information on your computer, anything you do on your computer is at risk," said Owner of Switch IT Support Jamie Langlois. 

It wasn't a big problem years ago with dial up internet, but now with the majority of web users turning to wireless - so are hackers.  "If there is a way to sniff the information, they would have to know what they are doing, but it's still a risk. And as bad as identity theft is today, identity theft would be the biggest risk," said Langlois. 

So how do you prevent just anyone from accessing your bank account, e-mails, and personal files?  The answer is securing your network.

Jamie Langlois and Clayton Ressler are computer experts from Switch IT in Lubbock. Together, we set out to show web users just how dangerous an unprotected network could be.

We found dozens of unsecured wireless networks street after street, house after house. Private information at risk to anyone who knows what they are looking for. "People could just get on your network as if they were working on a computer inside your house," said Langlois. 

"If we ever move, I'll definitely secure it. That's like the first thing, secure your network," said one wireless user.  And they're not alone; our experts say most people don't even realize they are risk.  

Even NewsChannel 11's own sports director Pete Christy had an unprotected network. "I feel a lot more comfortable and he showed me how I could look and see if somebody does sneak into the system, but after we did it, it went down to the two or three wireless computers we have in the house so it's amazing," said Christy. 

When securing your network, you're advised to make sure to create a complex password using both letter cases and numbers.  If you would like some help on securing your wireless network, you can call Switch IT Support at (806) 798-2600.

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