HOW to safely use WIFI connection in a hotel

Discussion in 'macOS' started by markwise, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. markwise macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2008
    Almere / Netherlands
    I'll be using my MBA on the hotels' WIFI network as of Sunday next.

    My question is whether it would be possible that while being on the hotel's WIFI network other guests could actually hack my MBA.

    If so what setting should I adjust to prevent this from happening?
  2. ramases macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2008
    You should employ the same security that you would use on any wireless connection. Ensure that your firewall is on, and whereever possible make sure that you turn off sharing. It's surprising how many people share their iTunes folder/playlists that folks can just "lift off" stuff from other laptops. If you do need to have sharing enabled for files etc, make sure that their isn't any "valuable" info in the folder.
  3. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Just turn on your MBA and start working :)

    If you're paranoid you can disable unnecessary services in Sharing preferences though.

    Its not possible to hack a Mac unless the user is doing something stupid like give his administrator password to a guy in chat...
  4. mojohanna macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2004
    Sharing iTunes does NOT allow people to lift songs or other itunes content off your computer. The record labels would have a hissy fit if that were true. Sharing just lets someone else listen to your playlists.
  5. scotty588 macrumors 6502

    Jan 2, 2007
    Carlsbad, CA
    Wirelessly posted (iphone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3)

    use an ssh tunnel or VPN if your paranoid about packet sniffing, which I am :)
  6. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Woah, woah, woah! That's definitely not true. They are safer out of the box in many cases, but they're not unhackable.

    However, I don't think you need to be too paranoid. Turning off sharing when in public places, yes, but ssh tunneling is probably a bit extreme unless you work for the DoD.

  7. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    Macs aren't 'unhackable' as has been proven recently, but 99% of the time it'll take a LOT longer to hack one than it would a PC - it's as close as possible to saying an 'unhackable' computer - they're very very secure.
  8. soms macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2007
  9. sp1keNARF macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2008
    Southern California
    Don't forget that the MB was the first machine to be hacked in the pwn2own contest...
  10. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    That's correct... after a user was directed to a website which took advantage of an exploit in Safari that is now patched.

    in any case, being on your home secured connection as opposed to being on hotel WiFi wouldn't have changed the outcome. This was not a "sit and get hacked" type of vulnerability, which by the way, all machines (including the MBA) survived in pwn2own.

    Moral: Run software update periodically, and don't be a lemming about going to sites you know nothing about.
  11. guzhogi macrumors 68030


    Aug 31, 2003
    Wherever my feet take me…
    You're partially right. People can't copy files directly off your computer if you use iTunes Sharing. Since people aren't perfect, I'm sure there are bugs in it that would allow someone to hack into your computer (not something Joe Schmo off the street will probably know how to do). Plus, even if you can't just copy files off of your computer, there are apps out there that can record whatever's going through your speaker system. I don't know any apps specifically, but I know they're out there.
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    To the OP....

    The really big thing to do is to turn off "File Sharing" (and all the other "sharing" options) in the Sharing pane in Preferences. I think you'll find that 99% of the people sniffing around are just bored and curious fellow hotel residents. When I'm using a hotel's WiFi I always check my "shared" sidebar in the Finder to see who else is on the network. Its frightening how many people have all their folders and files "shared" to the world.

    Don't store anything in the Public and Shared folders on your MBA that you don't want to share with the world. It's too easy to forget that you've left the File Sharing option on. If you do happen to do some File Sharing, just remember to clear the folders before you travel, so if you forget to turn off File Sharing (or if you need to use this handy function) you haven't left anything in the Public or Sharing folders that shouldn't be shared. Its just a case of good habits. You can also set up Gmail and other email connections to use HTTPS (My understanding is that HTTPS connections are encrypted, HTTP not so much).

    I'm not an IT pro, just someone who has done some reading about travelling with a laptop. Do you set the MBA to require a password when waking or when it has gone to screen saver?

    Good luck
  13. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    While OSX is pretty secure out of the box, it doesn't matter how secure your OS is if you are broadcasting email addresses, passwords, etc over the air on an unencrypted wifi signal. If someone has a packet sniffer on that network, they can get valuable information.

    As a lot of people have said, turn off sharing and don't store things in public and shared folders. One other thing to consider is using a VPN. HotSpot VPN is a pretty good solution, since they offer monthly, or even 1,3, or 7 day plans.
  14. waiwai macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2009
    the chances of a hacker killing time @ the hotel you are staying at and messing around with guest's notebooks is miniscule.

    if ur paranoid, don't use the wifi. so long as ur connected to the internet any hacker regardless of whether ur in a hotel wifi or home wifi, can get u.

    they're after u, YES YOU! Go hide before they packet sniff you! they'll ownzors your maczors, RUUUUUNNNN!!

    Let the paranoia ensue.

    Anyways, just turn off your file sharing settings like everyone said and u should be ok. And don't be going to shady sites or clicking stuff u shouldn't be, and u'll be alright. its going to be ok. :)
  15. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    As long as you are connected to a LAN, whether by ethernet or by wireless, you can be scanned and attacked. If you're on wireless, packet sniffers can be used (they can even be used of cabled ethernet sometimes.)

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