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PostPosted: December 31st, 2017, 7:45 pm 
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Joined: July 14th, 2015, 6:40 pm
Posts: 193
Location: Upstate South Carolina
We’ve been on the road since early October and one of the biggest issues has been finding secure WiFi to use to backup my electronic equipment that only backs up via WiFi. For example, I bought a new iPad Pro to use while on the adventure and it requires WiFi to backup. Same with my iPhone. I use the iPhone as a hotspot with the iPad and it works great, but it’s not WiFi, it’s cellular data.
Have you ever been hacked using unsecured WiFi? I wouldn’t use a fast food place but rather a campground Wifi ( password or not ) if there aren’t a lot of people at the park. I use the hotspot for surfing the web but need an occasional WiFi to backup, save photos and to download iOS updates.
What are your thoughts and experiences?


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PostPosted: December 31st, 2017, 9:14 pm 
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Location: Marysville, WA
Not a tech guy at all but I wonder about that as well. I have a data plan for my ipad and will use it while travelling. I try to stay off public wifi as I worry about hacking. Curious to hear answers here. (I'm a flip phone guy :lol: )

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PostPosted: January 1st, 2018, 2:00 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz
I haven't been hacked as far as I know, but I rarely use public wifi and try to stay away from it. Photos are stored on a tablet/laptop and I back 'em up with an external hard drive. For the super duper important stuff, I keep a password-protected SD card in my wallet and annually mail a copy to a relative. Nerd alert, yeah, but belt and suspenders! This strategy uses zero data and isn't "in the æther" like cloud storage. I have an all-you-can-eat cellular data plan and, when available, it has suited my limited demands just fine (phone tethers to laptop). I use Windows and Android, and don't update anything unless I'm absolutely forced to.

Gotta respect the flip phone, Steve!

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Last edited by Scott on January 2nd, 2018, 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: January 1st, 2018, 5:49 pm 
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I do it similarly to Scott. I don't back up anything to "the cloud." It's just not my style.

Instead, I keep two pairs of backup drives, each large enough for my entire hard drive. The reason for pairs is that with each pair I do a different style of backups to each one - and both have their own unique purposes in terms of what they will do if I need them. The reason for two pairs is that I carry one (more or less) with me (although not right with my computer) and leave one behind (updating it seasonally or as possible). Mainly I don't want to lose decades of photos, but other things would be inconvenient to lose as well.

So that covers my data and means I don't have to have it in the cloud. That's not to say there can't be problems, because no method is problem-proof. And the cloud has certain advantages. So it's just my preference. Larger hard drives always seem to come down in price in time for me to continue to buy ones big enough for the whole shebang (the spinning hard drives get cheaper faster than my main computer solid-state hard drive gets larger).

Then as far as going online, 95% of that is done through my cellular data, either via Jetpack, or sometimes making my phone a personal hotspot. The only reason I ever use public wi-fi is the occasional movie or larger (larger for a cell data plan, anyway) download (making sure to patronize the coffee shop generously while doing so).

I'm sure my methods have some holes in them - I'm not that sophisticated. But that's what I do.

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PostPosted: January 1st, 2018, 8:54 pm 
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You’re safe using an iPad. Unlike a laptop OS, it has no dangerous ports open to the public.

Just make sure you always use https if going to a website that requires valuable credentials like a bank login.

And of course, NEVER. click on a link sent via email from an entity claiming to be a credit card company or your bank or utility or anything. That link could be pointing anywhere. Always instead type in the website address yourself.

E.g. if you get an email from your “bank” saying your login needs updating etc, do NOT use a link in such a message. Instead, open a browser and manually go straight to your bank login on your own.

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PostPosted: January 2nd, 2018, 6:27 am 
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Joined: June 26th, 2017, 9:38 pm
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Location: Southern CA
I have not noticed being hacked while using public WiFi, but I rarely ever use it on very rare occasions. I have my own mobile hotspot with a build in WiFi, so I usually use that if I need connect on my laptop. I usually use the USB connection on the hotspot to avoid WiFi security problem, however.

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PostPosted: January 2nd, 2018, 9:10 am 
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From the flip phone guy:

What is a hot spot? :?:

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PostPosted: January 2nd, 2018, 9:50 am 
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Location: Houston, TX
Caveat: I am not a security pro. I just read a lot of security articles on Ars Technica. :geek: So, here's your bucket of salt.

I often use public wifi networks for all sorts of things... but with some defenses in place.

My bet would be that on campground wifi you're more likely to run into someone snooping around in the data flowing through the network (it's almost as easy as picking up a phone in the other room to listen in on the conversation) than you are to encounter someone actively trying to hack into your device (quite a bit more work, like a spy sneaking into a building to plant a bug). Really, there's just easier ways to get access to a device than trying to break in from the network (mostly by getting you to install something).

The most likely problem with campground wifi is likely to be web site logins. Two examples:

Many non-profit sites, like this forum, use an unencrypted connection (but most business sites, like your bank, use encrypted connections). It means that on this site, your browser is sending your user name and password to the forum server as plain text, which someone snooping on the network would be able to see. They might then try those credentials on more important sites, like Facebook or Gmail or a bank. If you re-use logins, you can easily set yourself up for identity theft.

If you connect to a network run by a malicious operator - for example, if it LOOKS like a campground or hotel wifi but is actually run by somebody else - they can inject code into web pages. Hotels do a harmless version of this, sometimes, where they show a banner or login page, or inject their own ads. A bad actor could use the same technique to lay fake user name and password fields over the real ones on a page, so that when you try to log in, you've sent your credentials to a hacker.

Easy things to help avoid these problems: 1. Never use the same password for more than one site. 2. Verify the name of the network with the campground staff. 3. Use a browser, like Chrome, which warns you if the connection is not secure (I don't know how Safari handles it). 4. Use a service like Encrypt.me (or other VPN) to automatically encrypt all web traffic to and from your phone when you are not on a trusted network.

The other things you're doing over wifi are probably safer than logging into web sites:

If you are getting updates to your operating system or virus software, you're probably fine. There are ways to hack that, but they're pretty sophisticated and you're unlikely to run into them unless you've been targeted by the NSA or something.

If you're doing searches on Google or watching videos on YouTube, someone might be able to see what you're doing. So, treat public networks like you're surfing in public and keep the embarrassing stuff for trusted networks.

Email is never really secure. Even if you have an encrypted connection to your email server, once it leaves your server to head off to the recipient's server, it's mostly transmitted as clear text. Just don't put private stuff in emails - assume someone could read them if they wanted to. Pick up the phone and use your voice if you need to keep a password or account number safe.

For backing up files, you want a service that encrypts the files before they ever leave your device. The good news for iPad/iPhone users is that iCloud backups are encrypted before they're transmitted to the cloud. So, I probably would go ahead and let iCloud backups run over a public network. There are similar applications available for PC (like Spider Oak).

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PostPosted: January 2nd, 2018, 9:57 am 
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Joined: November 29th, 2016, 9:06 am
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Location: Houston, TX
SMan wrote:
From the flip phone guy:

What is a hot spot? :?:


A hot spot is basically the equivalent of a cable modem, except that it connects to a cellular network. It connects to Verizon or ATT or T-Mobile or whatever, and then makes that internet connection available to wifi-enabled devices near it.

The other devices think they're on a broadband connection, like cable or DSL, so they act like they would at home, running updates or synchronizing data.

Hot spots are often stand-alone devices with their own data plan, but in some cases phones can be used to create hot spots as well (though many carriers really try to stop that).

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PostPosted: January 2nd, 2018, 2:55 pm 
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Good info, Kirah.

The fact that e-mail is pretty insecure is something to watch. I can't tell you how many doctor's offices, small merchants, and dozens of other places have wanted to send me -- or have me send them -- something important via open e-mail. Gaaah.

I always ask if they have a secure portal I can use instead (if I have to ask they nearly always don't), and often get answers like, "Oh, our e-mail is secure!" Sure it is. Ahem. My point here is that similarly to how you have to sometimes put up a bit of informed protest in order to not give out your social security number (to those who don't legally need it but just don't want to bother making up their own ID number scheme), you sometimes have to ignore people who tell you how secure their e-mail is (and many people just don't know and assume it is), and basically politely refuse to use it for important things.

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