Friday, December 12, 2008

Paying bills at a public hotspot - Friday, Dec. 12, 2008

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Friday, Dec. 12, 2008

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Paying bills at a public hotspot

QHow safe is it to pay my bill over a free Wi-Fi connection? I am using Norton 360, which I keep up to date. It has a personal firewall and Internet security. I log onto the individual credit card secure sites and make payments by authorizing each card to draft my checking account for a specific amount on a specific date. I can only get frustrating, slow dial-up service at my home.
–Marvin in Bailey, NC, listening on WPTF AM 680

AMost public Wi-Fi hotspots have virtually no security. That is especially true for free ones. So you're pretty much on your own. That said, you should be OK.

Financial organizations use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). That is a secure connection, using encryption that has never been broken. Even if your information were intercepted, it could not be read.

When you make a secure connection, the Web address begins with HTTPS. Sites that are not secure use HTTP. You may also see a closed lock at the bottom of the page.

I would think that your biggest danger would be shoulder surfers. These are people who look over a victim's shoulder to steal a password. This threat is most likely to occur in a crowded place.

When entering your passwords, shield your keyboard with your body. That still may not work against a professional surfer. I would try to get a seat against a wall. That would force crooks to watch from a side or front. They would be more apparent.

Don't worry about shielding your screen. It will show just asterisks.

Beware the evil twin! For more on hotspot dangers, click here.

This Saturday morning, I will be taking your calls for a whole four hours! The extra hour will be broadcast when I take a winter trip. So, if you have a question about something digital, let me help! It takes just three easy steps: 1.) Call the LIVE broadcast. That's this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the East Coast, or, if you live on the West Coast, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. 2.) Know the phone number. It is, of course, toll-free 1-888-825-5254. 3.) Talk to me. That's all there is to it!

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Video of the Day: It's never fun getting a speeding ticket. But this certainly isn't the way to handle it. That said, this video is pretty funny.

Cool Site of the Day: Caroling is a hallowed Christmas tradition. But you don't have to go knocking on doors. Try virtual caroling.

Digital Minute, on your radio: You'll probably do some Christmas shopping online. Watch out, though! Scammers are out in full force.

Free Download of the Day: Where do you keep your notes, references and to do lists? You could keep them on your personal wiki!

Tip on the site: Monitors are pretty standard equipment. But you'll want something specialized for professional-level photo editing.

Tomorrow's Tip, in your e-mail: Choosing a video game console

Kim :)

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Other Items of Interest
Kim's Favorite Tool Kit
Use Your Tools in Low-Light

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