Your unsecured Wi-Fi could be invitation to thieves -

Is your Wi-Fi connection secure?

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You may be letting strangers into your home without even knowing it.

They can get in through the wireless Internet router on your computer, where they can hack into your personal information.

To find out how they do it, computer expert and owner of Geeks 2 You, Marc Enzor, went "war-driving" around neighborhoods looking for wireless networks that aren't secure. On every street he checked, vulnerable networks lit up on his computer screen. Calvin Workman's home was one of them.

Enzor asked Workman if he realized his network was not secure and open to hacking.  He appeared to be surprised. 

We asked FBI Special Agent Patrick Cullen about the dangers of un-secure Wi-Fi networks.

"An open Wi-Fi is like leaving your front door open and saying, 'Come in! Look at everything I have and take what you'd like,'" says Cullen.

Andrew Lyons agreed to let us test out his computer.  He even gave us his wireless password.

"It is AABBCCDD. Pretty simple," says Lyons.

So, we put our computer expert Marc Enzor to work. It took less than three minutes to hack into Lyons' computer.

"I do a lot of online shopping, credit cards, personal emails," says Lyons. "I think I would feel very violated if someone was able to access my stuff."

He felt even more violated when we were able to take control of his computer.  Enzor was even able to turn off the Netflix movie Lyons was streaming on the TV from his own laptop.

So how can you tell your network is un-secure? It's a simple check of your router setting.  If it says WEP, consider it a warning.

WPA 2 is the setting you want.  It is considered hack-proof.

"Mathematically, it would take 10,000 computers 20 years to hack it," says Enzor.

Experts advised people be extra cautious in Wi-Fi hot zones like coffee shops and airports.

"If I were a hacker and I wanted to steal people's passwords, I'd be at the airport," says Enzor.

He also suggests that you make sure not to visit any un-encrypted websites in Wi-Fi hot zones. What you want to do is look at the address on your web browser. It should read "HTTPS," where the "S" stands for "secure."

"Every keystroke you type and hit enter on, I can actually see that request go to your network," says Enzor.

And that could lead to trouble.

"If someone were to send an email to the President saying they were going to assassinate the President and they were doing it with an open Wi-Fi, when the Secret Service came calling, it would be your IP address they came to," says Special Agent Cullen.

Here's some good news. Pretty much all banking web sites, PayPal and even eBay are encrypted.

Facebook can also be encrypted, by going into your account settings and changing your security setting so others cannot have access to your postings.

Copyright 2011 America Now. All rights reserved.


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