Protecting My Personal Info

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Mindcrime13, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. Mindcrime13 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    #1
    i live in a condo, and me and a group of neighbors agreed to all pay a share of broadband service, and put a modem one of the neighbors apt, we are like 6 ppl using the same wireless modem, anyway the guy hasn't yet put an encryption on the modem, and i notices some other ppl getting in the account to use the internet,

    i read about SSH so that they can not get any packets stuff from my computer but im not sure how it works, what app can i use so that no one can get any info out of my computer? i have ebay and my bank accounts passwords in there.

    thanks!
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    Enable your firewall in the Sharing pane of System Preferences as a start. Unfortunately there's not much you can do other than that 'cause you're limited by the encryption of the wireless network (which is unprotected). Once the data is flying through the air, there's not much OSX can do to protect it. Talk to the other people about getting even a small amount of encryption running on it. It shouldn't be any hassle for them. :)
     
  3. Mindcrime13 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    #3
    but isnt there any app tha can encode my data packets or something like that??
     
  4. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #4
    It might help if you think of this in terms of old-fashioned messengers hand-carrying coded messages (like in World War II). When you encrypt something and send it out over the network, it's like you are a field operative handing the coded message to a messenger guy and telling him to carry it to your recipient at headquarters. Because the messenger doesn't know the code, he can't read the message. But the recipient knows the code and, upon receiving the message, can translate it back from gobbledygook into readable text. And once he decodes it, the recipient can pass along the decoded message to his superiors or whoever else needs to read it.

    In an encrypted wireless network, your computer's wireless card is the sender, the messenger is the radio waves, and the recipient who knows the code is the router. Thus, your communications are protected from third-party interception as they travel between your computer and the router -- but not after they leave the router and go out into the Internet.

    If you want to encrypt the message but the router can't (or won't) do encryption, then you have to find a different "recipient" on the Internet who will know the code. The two most examples from the Internet are SSL web connections and encrypted VPN connections:
    • SSL on the web: This is what e-commerce websites use when they're collecting your credit card numbers and stuff. Your web browser is the "sender" and will encrypt all traffic sent to and from the e-commerce web site. The IP system is the "messenger." The web site is the "recipient" and decodes your messages after receiving them. Thus, you have end-to-end encryption from your browser to the e-commerce site.
    • VPN connection: Normally, a VPN server will be located in your office's/university's network. The VPN client on your computer is the "sender" and will capture and encrypt all of your network traffic. The IP system is the "messenger." The VPN server inside the office network is the "recipient" and will send out your decrypted messages to the office network and/or outside, via the office network's Internet connection.

    So, you can't just think about encrypting your data traffic without thinking about who decrypts it and where! If your office has a VPN server that you can log on to, that's probably the best solution. Otherwise, just keep in mind that anything you do over a non-SSL connection is going to be open for snooping at any point along the way.
     
  5. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #5
    Some very good points there.



    If the network has no security settings in place, then even the transfer between computer and router is susceptible to being intercepted. I think that might be the problem here. :eek:
     
  6. Mindcrime13 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    #6
    ok, so lets say for example i acces my bank, the info im sending to the bank is encrypted already and the banck is the only one who knows how to decrypted?
     
  7. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #7
    Yes. As long as your bank uses an SSL encrypted connection, then a third party listening in on your wireless traffic would be able to tell that you're communicating with your bank, but they wouldn't be able to figure out the content of those communications.
     
  8. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #8
    blackstone has put it very well for you, but I still think encryption on the network of some sort is necessary. It shan't be too much of a hassle to set up and it'll almost ensure you don't get dodgy people roaming around your network in the first place.
     
  9. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #9
    Yes, I agree with mad jew. Very little good can come from having strangers logging on to your network. After all, if some random guy starts bittorrenting on your connection or using it to commit a crime, guess who gets a visit from RIAA and/or the cops?

    The other big issue is that a fair amount of what you do online is not over an SSL connection. For example, many e-mail services will encrypt your username and password but send the text of your e-mails unencrypted -- and easily interceptable by anyone who's able to listen in on your network.
     

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