public internet security

Derek Broughton news at
Mon May 7 13:31:56 UTC 2007

Joris Dobbelsteen wrote:

>>Paul S wrote
>>I'm an experienced linux user but new to broadband and wireless.
>>Recently I bought a wireless laptop that I can connect to
>>public wifi networks.  I read somewhere that public wifi are
>>insecure and should not be used for anything that transmits a
>>password (even "https" websites).
> The last line is untrue.
> HTTPS has a good security layer, on top of which the password travels.
> So it can be safely used and is intended for this purpose. This is also
> true for SMTP over TLS, POP3S, IMAPS, posgresql with SSL enabled, ...

Thank you.  I was a bit surprised to see that a number of people promptly
responded about the insecurity of wifi without noting this.

I'd point out that many websites that might initially appear to be HTTPS,
only use a secure form for login, and do everything else over HTTP.  Be
sure to use Konqueror's default settings that will warn you when you're
redirected away from a secure site, or else be very careful to notice when
the lock icon disappears from the status bar.
>>  I also read that the only way to have security at a public
>>wifi is by using a virtual private network (vpn).
> Contradictionary by the above.

LOL.  It's not a word, but it should be :-)
> Seriously, your 6 Mbps are downstream usually. You will be limited by
> your upstream speed (which is fairly low usually).

I thought cable modems were generally fairly symmetric?  Certainly more so
than ADSL (or the awful satellite link I have).

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