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Watch out for strangers on your wireless network

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We have talked to you about locking down your home or business wireless networks.  You would not want bad guys looking in on your internet traffic.  However, if you have not locked down your network before, you might want to in order to avoid mistaken identity.

Imagine your surprise, you are home one day and there is a knock at the door.  The police department says that they have tracked down someone downloading child pornography, at your internet address.  WBTV's Cyber expert, Theresa Payton, explains what can happen.

DANGER - MISTAKEN IDENTITY

Law enforcement says that sexual predators are becoming technology savvy on how to hide their tracks and they look for wireless "hot spots" at public places.  However, if they can hop on someone's home network, they will do that too.

In another case of mistaken identity, a man hijacked his neighborhood wifi network and sent threatening emails to Vice President Joe Biden.

3 REASONS CRIMINALS LIKE IT:

  1. Disguises their traffic
  2. Easily available
  3. Usually decent internet speeds

3 TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF:

1.  Use a strong password on your WiFi:  10-14 characters, use numbers and symbols

2.  Talk to your service provider to ask them for options.  You can also ask your service provider for a router that can use what is called "WPA2 encryption"

3.  If a lot of people use your network as guests, consider setting up a "GUEST" account to keep their usage separate from your login in case there are ever any issues. 

WEB RESOURCES:

Tips from Christopher Burgess, senior security advisor for Cisco® - how crimes work on wireless networks:  https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/7416-Good-Reasons-to-Lock-Down-Your-Wireless-Network-.html

Other security tips for your wireless network:  http://www.broadbandinfo.com/high-speed-internet/security-and-patches/how-to-secure-your-wireless-broadband-network.html

WORD FOR THE WEEK:  Paintmonkey

If your job is to be behind the scenes working on computer graphics , touchups, or working on film footage you might be affectionately called a paintmonkey.

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