Safe Internet Browsing - Security Measures?

I am an average homeuser with limited technical abilities. I just changed from dial-up connection to wireless.

I access my personal bank accounts and do banking etc.

I practise safe-hex, the in-built firewall is enabled and use AntiVir and SpywareTerminator as my AV/A-S programs. I also utilise SeconfigXP (configured to Homeuser).

System details:

OS: WinXP Pro SP2

Acer TravelMate 3240 (LapTop) Manufactured by: AcerSystem Intel(R) Celeon(R) M CPU

430 @ 1.73GHz 1.73 GHz, 512 MB of RAM

IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers Intel(R) 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7-M Family) Serial ATA Storage Controller - 27C4 Primary IDE Channel Secondary IDE Channel

Network adapters Broadcom 440x 10/100 Integrated Controller Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945BG Network Connection PCMCIA adapters Texas Instruments PCIxx12 Cardbus Controller

Would appreciate advice what other security measures I should implement to surf the net safely i.e. how can I prevent others from seeing my browsing/computing activities?


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Tor (The Onion Router) is a free software implementation of second- generation onion routing =96 a system enabling its users to communicate anonymously on the Internet. Originally sponsored by the US Naval Research Laboratory, Tor became an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) project in late 2004, and the EFF supported Tor financially until November 2005.[3] The Tor software is now developed by the Tor Project, which since December 2006 is a 501(c)(3) research/education non-profit organization based in the United States of America[1][4] that receives a diverse base of financial support.[3]

Like all current low latency anonymity networks, Tor is vulnerable to traffic analysis from observers who can watch both ends of a user's connection.[5]

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Michael Yardley


Don't use WEP as your Security measure on your router! Very easy to hack the password. Use a made up password including lots of weird characters and make the password big/long. Harder to hack that way.


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Thanks Pete, As mentioned in my op, I am on a wireless (laptop) connection and have no router. Based on my system, should I purchase a router? And, when staying in hotels, do I have to carry the router with me? Isn't there an alternative to routers?

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Thanks for the advice.

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That all sounds fine. As already said, you want to be using WPA encryption for your wireless, not WEP.

As for banking, the main important thing is to make sure that they are using SSL encryption even at the login page -- which more than likely they are.

Only other thing I would add is to use a different web browser than Microsoft Internet Explorer, if you aren't already. Firefox is much more secure than MSIE.

(Towards your other post)

Re: routers. You didn't say what your wireless source is. Do you have cable internet that is going wireless? If so, you already have a wireless router that you are "leasing". If that is the case, have them just provide you with a cable modem and buy your own wireless router. It is cheaper in the long run and you will have a much better router with more features.

Re: hotels. No, you don't need a router to use wireless at hotels. You simply just use their routers and/or access points. All you need is your laptop to use hotspots. I carry a small wireless access point (that has a DHCP server) in my laptop bag though. I use it at hotels that don't have wireless so coworkers and I can setup a quick wireless LAN for gaming. Sometimes, if it is compatible, I use it as a repeater at a hotel with wireless if their signal is weak. That is rare though.

When out in public, just be conscious of "honeypots". These are people running hardware, usually laptops but can even be PDA's, that masquerade to look like legit access points -- usually having some scheme asking for a CC number. I've been using wireless for over seven years and haven't come across any yet, but they are out there, especially around airports and shopping malls.

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