How many of us use a WiFi connection at home or in local coffee shops? Are you confident that your signal is secure? Do you realize how easy it is to hijack someone's WiFi signal?
With the recent advances in WiFi technology, the signal range for WiFi has significantly increased. Many people with WiFi systems at home have the capability to pick up signal from several hundred feet away. If your WiFi router is not properly secured and password protected, how do you know if someone is stealing your signal.
I often bring a notebook computer to open houses and one of the first things that I do when I get to the house is look for a WiFi signal. Most of the time I strike out, but every once in awhile one of the neighbors will have a signal that I can jump on. Now I am not a great hacker, but if I was I could easily go through the neighbor's computer. In fact, there are people that will sit in coffee shops waiting for people to check their e-mail or bank accounts. I recently read a story where someone noticed a woman parked in a car in front of their home. When the homeowner went out to the car, they noticed that the person was on their notebook. When questioned, they said that they were waiting to pick up a friend. As soon as the homeowner went back in their house the car drove off. This story certainly made me wonder.
So what can we do to protect ourselves? The most important and easiest thing to do is password protect your connections. If you have a wireless router at home make sure you have a password setup. You would be surprised how many people never set up their passwords. A password protected WiFi connection will not stop all thieves, but it will certainly keep the honest people honest.
Ryan Martin, e-Pro®, Realtor® - 360-319-0040