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Wi-Fi hotspots have become ubiquitous at cafes, airports, restaurants, and other public location. In fact, more and more cities are creating hotspots that blanket entire metropolitan areas.But every time you connect at a hotspot, you’re asking for trouble. hotspots are open networks that don’t use encryption, which invites hacking and snooping. In addition, when you’re on a hotspot you’re connected to the same network as your fellow hotspot users, they can potentially weasel their way onto your PC and inflict damage.
But don’t let that deter you from connecting. There’s plenty you can do to keep yourself safe at hotspots. Just follow these ten tips.1. Disable Wi-Fi ad-hoc mode Wi-Fi runs in two modes: infrastructure mode, which you use when you connect to a network; and ad-hoc mode, when you connect directly to another PC. If you’ve enabled ad-hoc mode, there’s a chance that someone near you can establish an ad-hoc connection to you without your knowledge, and they’ll then have free reign in your PC. So when you’re in a hotspot, make sure that ad-hoc mode is turned off. To do it:1. Right-click the wireless icon in the System Tray.2. Choose Status.3. Click Properties4. Select the Wireless Networks tab.5. Select your current network connection.6. Click Properties, then click the Association tab.7. Uncheck the box next to “This is a computer-to-computer (ad hoc) network”.8. Click OK, and keep clicking OK until the dialog boxes disappear.2. Use a wireless Virtual Private Network (VPN) When you’re at a hotspot, anyone nearby with a sniffer can see all the packets you send and receive. This means they can see your passwords, user names, email…anything you do online. A great way to protect yourself is with a wireless VPN that encrypts all the information you send and receive when you’re online, so you’ll be free from snoopers. My favorite is VPN Privacy. It’s easy to set up and use; you don’t need to download software, because it uses XP’s and VISTA built-in VPN software.3. Use an encrypted USB flash drive For maximum protection of your data, use a clean laptop that only has an operating system applications on it, and put all of the data you’re taking with you on an encrypted USB flash drive. Many flash drives include encryption features. That way, even if someone somehow gets into your PC, they won’t be able to read or alter any of your data.4. Use a personal firewall. A firewall will protect you from anyone trying to break into your PC, and can also protect any spyware or Trojans on your PC from making outbound connections. The XP firewall offers only one-way protection; it doesn’t stop outbound connections. So for maximum security, don’t rely on XP’s firewall. There are plenty of good firewalls out there, but for most purposes, the free version of ZoneAlarm is a great choice.
7. Disable or remove your wireless adapter if you’re working offline. Just because you’re at a hotspot doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to connect to the Internet — you may want to work offline. If that’s the case, remove your wireless card. If you instead have a wireless adapter built into your laptop, disable it. In XP, right-click the wireless icon, and choose Disable. If you’re using the adapter’s software to manage your connection, check the laptop on how to disable it.8. Use email encryption. Much email software includes encryption features that encrypt messages and attachments. So turn on email encryption when you’re at a hotspot. In Outlook 2003, select Options from the Tools menu, click the Security tab, and then check the box next to “Encrypt contents and attachments for outgoing messages.” Then click OK.9. Look over your shoulder. Sniffers and hacking techniques aren’t required for someone to steal your user names and passwords. Someone only needs to peer over your shoulder to watch what you’re typing. So make sure no one snoops on you as you computer.10. Don’t leave your laptop alone Had too many lattes and need to hit the rest room? Don’t leave your laptop behind. Laptop thefts are getting increasingly common at hotspots. In fact, San Francisco has been subject to a hotspot crime wave of sorts, with thieves even grabbing people’s laptops while they were using them. Some hotspots have responded by including a port to which you can lock your laptop via a laptop lock.
5. Turn off file sharing. It’s fine to enable file sharing on your home network. But doing it at a public hotspot invites any of your close-by latte drinkers to start slurping files off your system. To turn it off. Turn it off by running Windows Explorer, right-clicking on the drive or folders you normally share, choosing Sharing and Security, and unchecking the box next to “Share this folder on the network.”6. Make sure the hotspot is a legitimate one One of the latest hotspot scams is for someone to set up a hotspot themselves in a public location or cafe, and when you connect, steal your personal information, or ask you to type in sensitive information in order to log in. So before connecting at a hotspot, ask someone at the counter of the cafe the name of the hotspot, because someone may have set up another one, in the hopes of luring in the unwary.
A growing restaurant will take more than a bigger workforce and an expanded menu. An increasingly popular restaurant will take one of the many restaurant point of sale systems that are specially designed for the industry. With special restaurant automatic software, everything from menus and billing to purchasing and labor scheduling can be handled from the restaurant computer system which can keep tabs on profitability in real time.One of the best things about using restaurant sales software is increased efficiency that will lead to more profits. With these restaurant automatic systems, faster transaction processing means less waiting time for customers, the ability to process more customers and the opportunity to perform more accurate billing via the restaurant computer system. By allowing for a faster and better customer experience, a point of sale system is just what some restaurants need to move up to the next level.Real time inventory management can help reduce slippage while workers know what products to re-order in time to avoid operational problems. The identification of customer trends can help restaurant owners and managers determine what menu items to keep and which to replace with new options, making it always possible to have a relevant menu that the clientele will appreciate, ensuring more frequent and continued sales. Additionally, customers could be encouraged to register, allowing the restaurant to develop relationships by reaching out with special offers and notices about new menu items.When shopping for restaurant computer software, be sure to shop around to find the best value because the best price may come with too many limitations and too many strings attached. Look for highly reviewed systems that can be networked together over a VPN or other secure network. This is a must for centralized control over multiple locations. This is important even for single-site restaurants because they may be branching out before too long, especially with the improved efficiency of a new point of sale system.Quotes for a new restaurant system should include all the features and specs for the proposed system. This is essential so that different systems can be compared to make sure that a reasonable comparison can be made. Be sure to also ask for information about the program and hardware warranty that comes with the system and also what service plans are available. Restaurants depend on their computers and these devices, so on-site services options are normally a plus.
The technologies that make today’s businesses more efficient and effective also make them more vulnerable to threats. Information security can be a constant struggle for corporations as they fight to keep ahead of the ever-changing computer data security hazards.Companies suffer data leaks as a result of anything from a stolen laptop to hackers to stolen paper records. According to the 2006 Cost of Data Breach Study from The Ponemon Institute, data breaches cost companies an average total of $4.7 million, or $182 per customer record. Companies with a poor data protection solution can not only run into legal trouble due to strict data security laws, but when data leaks occur, most corporations can run into image and public relations problems brought on by the scrutiny.So what can you do to make your computer data security more effective? Here are a few actions you can take to make sure your data protection solutions are always in tip-top shape.o Evaluate often. Frequently assess your computer data security’s functionality and find other data protection solutions to cover any vulnerable aspects. Additionally, you should establish a data security policy with frequent audits so your company can keep its security solution up-to-date.o Implement and enforce password policies. Ensure that your employees have strong passwords that include the appropriate amount of letters, numbers and special characters. As part of the system, set parameters that force your employees to change their passwords regularly, as this will help maintain system security.o Watch over your VPN. If you have any employees working from a remote location, keep in mind that these users can collect viruses or malware on their unprotected home computers, which means those threats could eventually skip over your network. So if your employees do work remotely, make sure that they are working from security-protected, company-issued laptops.o Monitor your wireless. After you secure wi-fi access points, you should continue to keep informed of the risks. Some data thieves use a trick called the “evil twin” where they create a fake wireless network that has a name very similar to yours in an effort to trick workers into logging onto this impostor network where it’s possible to get the users’ login information.o Hack your own wireless network. Hire an external auditor to conduct a “penetration test” on your network Though it sounds odd, hacking into your own network gives you a hacker’s view of your network and is probably the most effective way to find out what your data protection solutions may lack.o Always encrypt your data. No matter where the data is being physically stored, using strong cryptography is imperative when protecting sensitive data.o Delete unused data. Collect the data you need and place it in a secure system, but once it is superfluous, make sure you delete it completely.If you pay close attention to your computer data security solutions and see that nothing is slipping through the cracks, you will have a much lower risk of your data getting into the wrong hands – saving your company from the consequences of public scrutiny and liability costs.