We're sure you'll agree that we all need occasional reminders about basic security - it's not necessarily that we forget, but just that when one's busy, it's easy to get distracted. And then it could be too late.
Tips to enhance your security
To ensure you protect your personal data and minimise any security risks, there are several steps you can take to improve wireless security both at home and when using a public wi-fi hotspot
- Install a personal firewall
- Use our free Cisco VPN security software.
- Turn off automatic login
- Secure personal details
- Turn off file and print sharing
- Change the default Service Set Identifier (SSID)
- Change the default password needed to access a wireless device
- Keep your browser up to date
- Check digital certificates are valid
- Information for O2 iPhone users
- Internet safety for you and your family
Install a personal firewall
Firewalls can help prevent unwanted users from accessing your device when you use wireless access to the internet. Some more sophisticated products will even alert you when an attempt is being made. By installing a personal firewall it reduces the ability of attackers to gain access to resources on your computer by allowing only traffic which is authorised by the intended user. Some operating systems include a personal firewall as standard, but it is important to check that the firewall is enabled. Free trial firewalls can be downloaded from the internet before you decide to purchase a full security firewall.
You can buy a firewall at BT Shop
Use our free Cisco VPN security software
BT Wi-fi has a virtual private network (VPN) especially for users wanting extra security when connected in a BT Wi-fi hotspot. The software improves the security of the link between your laptop and the hotspot. You may want to use our VPN when transmitting personal data.
Turn off automatic login
Ensure your wireless device cannot automatically login because you have configured it to remember passwords. This should be turned off (often an Internet Explorer browser setting).
Secure your personal details
Only input bank and other personal details when Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or HTTPS sessions are in progress (look for the padlock icon in your browser and click on it to confirm that the security certificate is valid).
Turn off file and print sharing
This will help prevent anyone from accessing your hard drive and looking at your files. To do this using Windows XP, go to your Control Panel, click on Network and Dial-Up Connections, find your wireless card, click on the Properties button, and uncheck the File and Print Sharing box to turn it off.
Change the default Service Set Identifier (SSID)
Your wireless devices may have a default SSID set by the factory. The SSID is the name of your wireless network, and it can be anything you wish. Hackers know these defaults and can try them to join your network.
Change the network's SSID to something unique, and make sure it doesn't refer to the networking products you use.
Change the default password needed to access a wireless device
For wireless products such as access points and routers, you will be asked for a password when you want to change their settings. These devices have a default password set by the factory. Hackers know these defaults and will try them to access your wireless device and change your network settings. To thwart any unauthorized changes, customise the device's password so it will be hard to guess.
Keep your browser up to date
We recommend that you apply all patches and new versions of your browser software by regularly checking the browser vendor's home page for updates.
Check digital certificates are valid
If your browser software allows you to do so, please ensure that you select the option to display any out of date digital certificates that may be presented by the web sites you are browsing. This allows you to be confident that the web site is actually managed by the organisation or company that it claims to represent.
Information for 02 iPhone users
On a typical login to BT Wi-fi using a laptop and browser, you manually login and then have the opportunity to check for the padlock symbol. This shows you are logging in to a BT Wi-fi https login page, and that there are no digital certificate errors. This check is not in place with the iPhone because the authentication takes place without your intervention.
On the first use of your iPhone at a BT Wi-fi hotspot you will have registered your iPhone by entering your mobile number. After that initial login you will not have to enter details again as we always authenticate that you have a valid iPhone before we provide access. You will therefore not need to login to BT Wi-fi again as this is done automatically for you.
If you are using your O2 iPhone at a BT Wi-fi hotspot after your first initial use, you should not see the BT Wi-fi hotspot landing page where the certificate warning message is displayed. You should also not be asked to enter your O2 mobile number on a registration page as BT uses the details from when you first used BT Wi-fi on your O2 iPhone. If asked on your second or subsequent uses, you should not attempt to enter any of your details. Instead contact the O2 helpdesk and advise them of this situation.
Internet safety for you and your family
If you want to find out more on how to avoid threats like viruses, how to help make sure your kids are safe at all times, and how to avoid online fraud and the latest scams then please visit our internet safety pages.
You can also follow BT Life, our technology and lifestyle blog, bringing you the latest news and opinions on communications, entertainment, online safety and much more.
We've teamed up with leading online security company McAfee® to give your computer and your family all the protection they need. Visit our Security products pages.