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View Full Version : Wireless (in)visibility? Escape from spyware?


Mr. Monsieur
May 24, 2004, 11:35 AM
I was just wondering how 'anonymous' one is when surfing the internet through a wireless connection at a wi-fi hotspot? Obviously, when working from home, the IP address is relatively easily accessible. How does this work when one is working away from home? Can spyware send messages from your computer, which includes serial number information, etc., connecting you to the computer?

rainman::|:|
May 24, 2004, 12:01 PM
Hmm. WiFi is actually less secure, for a couple of reasons. First off, your IP address and MAC number (that's the identity of your WiFi or Ethernet card) are still sent with all data, as this is essential to proper functionality. And unlike Ethernet, Wifi sends all of your precious data packets anywhere in transmission reach, so wireless packet sniffers can be used without a direct connection. That is only dangerous when someone is, say, sniffing your internet connection from behind you at a coffeehouse or airport. But here's where things get trickier. Ethernet has been around for a long time, but WiFi is newer, so people who have WiFi installed are more likely to have things like firewalls or perhaps even IP masqerading behind a router. These won't affect the data packets being sent everywhere, but it will help tighten up the straps in terms of direct connections from nearby computers.

If you have spyware or adware or other software which normally connects to the internet, it will continue to do so at a wireless hotspot. And all public hotspots are going to be at least recorded, so there will definitely be records tying you (or your computer, at least) back to that spot and time.

The internet is not really that anonymous, whether you use wifi or landline connections, unless you go out of your way. But WiFi users who use common sense (authentication, firewall) aren't really in more danger than other users.

parrothead
May 24, 2004, 09:25 PM
Are there any known spyware/adware applications that could be found on Macs? If so, how would I go about detecting them?