How safe is WiFi? Better take some precautions

Wednesday, 22 January 2003, 12:14 PM EST

Although the safety of WiFi networks is improving, sensitive information crossing most existing systems can be stolen. The odds of it happening to you are greatly reduced if you take certain precautions, including some you should be using no matter how you access the Internet.

WiFi, or wireless fidelity, unplugs the Internet. A relatively inexpensive WiFi system can radiate Internet connectivity for a few hundred feet, enough to feed a single broadband connection to several computers in one house.

That is why WiFi is quickly becoming the rage in coffee houses, book stores, airports, hotels, city plazas and other places frequented by people with laptop computers. Tens of thousands more of these wireless "hotspots" are expected to pop up around the nation this year.

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