Wireless safety

Wireless technologies can be very convenient. They can allow computers and devices to connect to the Internet or peripherals. However, because wireless technologies are broadcast across airwaves, they present some unique privacy and security concerns.

Two of the most common wireless technologies are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Wi-Fi is a technology commonly used to connect wirelessly to the Internet. Businesses and other public places commonly provide Wi-Fi as a courtesy to visitors.  Most Wi-Fi networks you encounter will be safe, but it is possible for criminals to use a Wi-Fi network to intercept communications. If you are using a public Wi-Fi network, you should avoid sending sensitive information without encryption as these are usually unsecured connections.  You should also make sure your computer or device is configured to treat a public Wi-Fi network as a public network. This will limit what other people on the network can access from your device.

If your business uses Wi-Fi, you should secure it appropriately. All networks should have password protection. If you are offering Wi-Fi to customers, you should make sure your network settings do not allow access to anything sensitive. For private networks you may wish to consider whitelisting MAC (media access control) addresses. A MAC address is unique to each device and whitelisting allows only authorized devices to connect.

Bluetooth is a commonly used wireless technology that connects devices to peripheral computer accessories, such as wireless headphones. Bluetooth can be very convenient, but its security options are not as strong as Wi-Fi. When you are using Bluetooth accessories it is best to set your device to “undiscoverable” mode. This will allow already connected devices to work, but will not let new devices connect. When you aren’t connected to a Bluetooth device at all, it is best to disable Bluetooth entirely to prevent unwanted connections and data theft.  

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