Securing my notebook on a WiFi network

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by S600MBUSA, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. S600MBUSA macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia
    #1
    Not too long from now, I'll be going attending college. Of course, this university has a campus-wide WiFi network set up, and I'd like some information on how secure my Macbook Pro will be on that network. Are there any dangers, and are there any steps I can take to secure my notebook against intrusions?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    Right off the bat, I'd go into System Preferences and ensure that your firewall is running and that your Sharing preferences don't expose anything you don't need to expose.

    Second, along the lines of security, I'd make sure that your system is set to ask for a password when woken, and I'd consider using File Vault if you regularly back up your Mac (one bad disk sector and File Vault dies along with your entire home folder) or at least putting your sensitive information into encrypted disk images - basically, pretend you left your MBP on a bench and someone took it - would you be worried about what they could see?
     
  3. seniorstinky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #3
    Is their any security on the WiFi network or is it unencrypted? If it's unencrypted, I wouldn't log into any website that wasn't https unless you didn't care about someone potentially finding out your username and password. This also goes for any mail accounts you may pull down using POP3.

    There's no way to secure that situation.
     
  4. S600MBUSA thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia
    #4
    I'm already running the firewall here at home and I have the preferences set to ask for password coming out of sleep, so those bases are covered. I'll look into File Vault and encrypted disk images. Thanks for the info!
     
  5. S600MBUSA thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia
    #5
    I did some research and as to the encryption on the network, I'll be required to download a program to allow my Airport card to connect to the WPA encrypted network.

    I've pretty much secured my LAN at home, so I know at least something about how encryption and security prevent unauthorized users from accessing the network. However, I don't know anything about the security of authorized users on the network.
     
  6. MarkMS macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    #6
    You may want to look a bit into Little Snitch. I've been using it for about 2 years now and it lets me know of every connection to my computer, especially at my university with the open unencrypted WiFi networks. Think of Zone Alarm for Windows. It may be overkill for you to know about each connection, but once it's set up properly it runs in the background without any user interaction until something out of the ordinary pops up.

    Another thing to add to the thread is to go into the Firewall and turn on Stealth Mode.
    System Prefs > Security > Firewall > Advanced

    Also if on Leopard, just set it up to allow only essential services. It may stop some apps from working, but you can go back to allow all incoming connections or set up specific services when you go back to a protected connection.
     

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