Manage Learn to apply best practices and optimize your operations.

Locking down laptops that connect to hotspots

Wireless laptops are a huge security risk, especially when they connect to public hotspots. Contributor Kevin Beaver provides a step-by-step guide for locking down your laptops using a variety of firewalls, encryption and security protocols.

Connecting to the Internet at a wireless hotspot can be hazardous to your computer's health. Even worse, your (and your organization's) sensitive information can be put at serious risk if your computer and communications channel are not locked down and protected against the elements whenever you log on at your favorite local hotspot.

A controlled network environment is bad enough, but when you're connected to the Internet wirelessly among a bunch of strangers, it's like swimming among sharks -- you never know when someone is going to attack. This is true in "open access" hotspots (which I'm seeing more and more of) and even at "trusted access" hotspots that require you to subscribe and authenticate before obtaining access.

All it takes is someone with a wireless network analyzer to see what's going on. Add to that a few basic hacking tools and your computer can be "owned" by someone else in a matter of minutes. Take the following steps to ensure that your wireless laptop is locked down. That way you can keep the good stuff in and the bad guys out the next time you connect wirelessly in a public place.

How to lock down laptops that connect to hotspots

 Home: Introduction
 Step 1: Understand what there is to lose and who's stealing the loot
 Step 2: Secure your computer to prevent attacks in the first place
 Step 3: Secure your communications link
 Step 4: Tools you can use to test if you're vulnerable

If you prefer to print and hand out the guide, click here for the .pdf.

More information from

  • Book Excerpt: Securing wireless communications
  • Tip: Don't let laptops infect your network
  • Learning Center: Securing Windows laptops

    Kevin Beaver
    Kevin Beaver is an independent information security advisor with Atlanta-based Principle Logic LLC. He has more than 17 years of experience in IT and specializes in performing information security assessments. He has authored five information security-related books including Hacking For Dummies (Wiley), the brand new Hacking Wireless Networks For Dummies, and The Practical Guide to HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance (Auerbach). You can reach Kevin Beaver at
    Copyright 2005 TechTarget

    Dig Deeper on Enterprise desktop management

    Start the conversation

    Send me notifications when other members comment.

    Please create a username to comment.