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Poll: Has your PC ever been compromised while using Wi-Fi?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / July 18, 2008 7:30 AM PDT

Has your computer ever been compromised while accessing a Wi-Fi connection?

Yes. (Please explain.)
No. (Are you lucky, or just well protected?)
Possibly, but I'm not positive. (Please explain.)
I don?t use Wi-Fi.

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by PudgyOne / July 18, 2008 9:19 AM PDT

On my computer, I use Zone Alarm for my firewall. With Zone Alarm, Avast FREE, Spybot Search & Destroy and Super AntiSpyware installed, I have no problems, when using WiFi.


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Yes - My PC Has Been Compromised
by mgardner2366 / July 18, 2008 11:40 AM PDT

It happened last March at a hotel in Las Vegas. Logged onto the hotel supposedly secure wireless system that was managed by an outside vendor -- iBahn ( ? ). The web site home page advertised that it was secure. After I logged on something happened to my desktop while I was on my computer. It seemd that there was someone else on my computer and there surely was. I played around with my mouse for a few minutes and noticed that some files on my desktop were opening that I did not open. I then tried to shut down my computer and the computer would not shut down. Someone had taken control of my computer. What a mess and what a sense of violation.

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Yes, even though I thought was protected

We're in Alaska for 3 months and have had public WiFi for 2 months in our campground. I just had a virus scan today that produced 3 worms which couldn't be cleaned and had to be quarantined. We have Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 14, which came with my new Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop that I bought last August. I try to be careful of the websites I visit & only open e-mail attachments from friends.

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Wi-Fi Use
by maldelus / July 18, 2008 12:31 PM PDT

I'm still getting used to RSS feeds.

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by bmk789 / July 18, 2008 1:08 PM PDT

No comprimising to be done here. No worries with Ubuntu Linux.

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Using Wi-fi as little as possible...
by Dr Eley / July 18, 2008 3:03 PM PDT

Although it costs a little extra each month, with my Verizon wireless card I get faster speeds, greater coverage, and a greater sense of security. I've never had issues with public wi-fi, but try to use caution and only connect to secure servers when I do.

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Don't think so, but maybe I don't know
by 5circles / July 18, 2008 3:29 PM PDT

I use TrendMicro Internet Pro which has additional features for WiFi - pity they don't support Firefox, so I feel reasonably secure.

I don't like the "Free Public WiFi" connections that seem to show up in an attempt to lure you. But I don't know how they try to connect - they don't appear to be a real connection. Are they on a bad guy's laptop, or are they on a laptop that has been compromised? I don't think they are access points.

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Don't use Wi-Fi
by Quietmike / July 18, 2008 4:36 PM PDT

The reaon I don't use Wi-Fi is that I haven't clue what it is, what it does, what equipment it is used on and how do you get it?

Perhaps my ignorance is just age-related, after all, I'm still trying to work out what an ipod does and how you get it set up!


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no evidence of problems, spare router
by olddogv / July 18, 2008 8:40 PM PDT

I use public wi-fi occasionaly, never any sign of problem. Running XP pro.Kaspersky suite, & spybot. e-mail via or aol.
If possible, I use plug into d-link wireless router, and connect through that as antenna. More range than most built-in, and it is passworded,firewalled, not default. I only do what I have to, but that does include banking. That I only do in a hotel room or other private place.

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don't use it
by duopodcast / July 19, 2008 12:05 AM PDT

wi-fi - wi-bother?
The Internet, ever since Al Gore 'invented' it, hasn't been a safe place to be for any reason. That's wi so many people use it - it's dangerous!
It's like casual sex today - using the Internet is like using a condom; you can still contract a plethora of STDs; using wi-fi is like, well, being so drunk you think that she was blond, but you can't remember.
If you can get on a wi-fi, the reverse is true. Don't go there with anything bigger than a cellphone. In fact, wi-bother? Read a book, mail a letter, phone a friend.

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Rarely use wi-fi
by jrdnjstn / July 19, 2008 12:37 AM PDT

I don't own a laptop. So when I go places I take my sons psp and connect to the hotels wi-fi. I get the information I want, which is looking for things to go see and do in the city I'm visiting. Plus his psp doesn't contain any information folders like a desktop or laptop does.

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by Themisive / July 19, 2008 1:00 AM PDT

I don't need WiFi, all the peripherals are wired (though this does mean I have a "rats nest" of cabling, it also prevents unwanted WiFi interference.

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Using Wi-Fi, Ever compromised?
by Amder1990 / July 19, 2008 1:06 AM PDT

I am basically an older woman who just jumped into the world of computers not too long ago (7 months). I would love to have the confidence to use my notebook in Starbucks and hang out while sipping and surfing, but I am afraid of what can happen. After years of work in a law office, I really don't trust what people would do. I have no doubt that the technology and personality exists out there for some creep to literally hijack my system wirelessly and have fun messing up my stuff or invading my privacy and perhaps financial info. There really are some dark characters out there. I realize my view my be extreme but I have seen the real details and spoke with some individuals who would consider this normal, fun, etc. I wish that I could trust myself and my skills to overcome this but I simply do not have the knowledge at this point.

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I've not yet used WiFi but have used "public" computers
by MaxineKL / July 19, 2008 1:14 AM PDT

The few times I've used public computers (not WiFi) in a hotel or internet cafe, I just checked my internet account via webmail or looked at stuff on other websites (e.g., maps could be accessed this way)--without involving my laptop at all. If I need to work on files or have other info with me, I just put the relevant stuff on a USB memory stick. Then, as long as I don't say anything confidential on my email (which I don't, as a rule, even at home) and don't pay by credit card online in these places, I think I'm as safe as I can be. I've considered using WiFi, but having read this discussion, I'll think twice! Thanks.

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Reluctant to do financial transactions on public wi-fi
by jthelw / July 19, 2008 3:43 AM PDT

I have no problems using public internet access for news, scores, or even e-mail, but I'll only contact my banking site or use my credit card in a dire emergency. Having said that, however, I have bought airline tickets on public wi-fi and also got sports tickets from Ticketmaster, so maybe I'm just very lucky.

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Watch yourself around national parks, theme parks, etc...
by jolenj / July 19, 2008 3:58 AM PDT

I was in West Yellowstone last month (June), just outside Yellowstone National Park, in a hotel with WiFi access and was logged on checking email. I suddenly noticed a second wireless connection (computer to computer) in addition to the computer to network connection I was using. Strongly suspect a 'war driving' event. There are a number of hotels in the area of West Yellowstone where we spent several days.

To summarize I had to shut down the wireless access on my computer and afterward found several strange files in a new directory folder.
Just CYA when in and around national parks, theme parks, and the hotel complexes that support these places.


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wifi and gotomypc
by cush52 / July 19, 2008 10:44 AM PDT

I use my verizon wireless card on the road and access my home computer via GO TO MY PC. I then am only using the wireless connection to connect to my home PC and do all my work from the home PC.
Don't think I have been compromised...does anyone know if this is a safer way to use wireless?

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Dont use WiFi

I dont have wireless or a laptop...

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Poll Answer
by Pepe65 / July 21, 2008 2:43 AM PDT

No, we've been using Wi-Fi for many years as we travel full-time in an RV and have never had trouble. We use it almost exclusively for email, banking and investments. We are careful not to play games on-line, invest in schemes in Nigeria, nor open email promising to improve our sex lives.

For the past 5 years we've used a DataStorm internet satellite dish, but when it is blocked, we use campground Wi-Fi. When we are overseas, we use Internet cafes. We have a router to run our 3 computers, we have anti-virus kept up-to-date, we have spyware kept up-to-date, we keep Windows up-to-date, we have a firewall at the computer, at the router, at the dish.

We get tired of people telling us how dangerous and scary it is. So is driving a car.

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Wi-Fi Compromise
by robpotts / July 21, 2008 7:07 AM PDT

I have been using wi-fi for about a year now. I use my ISP Shaw F-Secure and as far as I know I have not been compromised. I live in a pretty good neighbourhood too.


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