Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WARNING: Beware of Fake Wireless Networks on Campus

IMPORTANT: When connecting to the wireless network on campus, only connect to MHC-Public (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. The one and only official college wireless network you should connect to.



DO NOT
connect to any other wireless network on campus, because they are not official college networks—this includes one that might say MHC-Library.

WHY THE WARNING?

Unfortunately there are individuals on campus that are creating “rogue” networks. These rogue networks might look like free wireless access points (see Figs. 2 & 3), but you are not connecting to a network, you are connecting to someone’s computer directly. An intention of these rogue networks could be to steal your private information (e.g., user name and password sets) that you use to access secure information online (e.g., banking and credit card information, Facebook, myMHC, etc.).

Fig 2. A rogue computer-to-computer network.





Fig. 3. Another rogue computer-to-computer network.





Another problem these rogue networks create is that they will disrupt the functions and services of the MHC-Public network. The effects of which include: making the network unavailable or unstable.

HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY?
  • Do not access banking and other confidential information using the public wireless network (this includes MHC-Public).

  • Do not have your laptop configured to automatically join networks—always manually connect to networks out of your home network.

  • Never make a computer-to-computer connection—regardless of what the name of the network is.

  • Do not accept any prompts when you are asked to allow someone to join you.

  • Turn off your wireless card if you are not browsing the Web—this also saves power.

  • Have up-to-date security software installed on your computer—antivirus, firewall, etc.

  • If you have the technical expertise, create a personal virtual private network (VPN) before connecting to a public wireless service.
Information Technology Services (ITS) is actively seeking a solution to resolve this issue.

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