Using a laptop overseas

Old May 11th, 2007, 03:18 PM
  #1  
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Using a laptop overseas

My husband and I will be traveling to England and Germany this summer and have never used a laptop overseas. Aside from using an adaptor are there any security issues we should consider? We will probably be using wireless. He wants to check our stock market accounts while we are gone and to execute trades. What about using the computers that are in the hotels? I am nervous about it because I don't understand the technology!
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Old May 11th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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ira
 
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Hi M,

>He wants to check our stock market accounts while we are gone and to execute trades. <

Tell him that you are on vacation and to leave the $%^^&**( computer at home.

If he won't, let him ask his own questions.

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Old May 11th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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Unless he knows how to encrypt the information he sends out over the net he is suseptable to anybody picking up his info. This is because most wireless public outlets, both in the US and abroad, are more or less open to anybody who can access it. Hackers with the easily obtained software can see exactly what anyone is sendin/viewing in this situation. I use mine strictly for email and uploading digital photos.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 03:54 PM
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If he executes trades etc. over wireless networks in the US he probably knows all about encryption and wireless security protocols and dos and don'ts. If it were me I'd save the trading and account management for occasions where I could get to a wired internet connection - internet cafes, etc. - rather than relying on some hotel's wi-fi.

That said, I have sinned along these lines quite a few times and haven't yet been hacked. Famous last words I imagine.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 04:14 PM
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From a security point of view, there is no difference between a wired network and a wireless one.

Confidential data to https:// sites is encrypted by the browser (using 128-bit DES), and appears as total gobbledygook once it leaves the computer. It doesn't matter if it's intercepted in the air or off a wire going through a rogue router somewhere. The information is useless.

New security protocols ensure that a spoof site can't fool a user into entering his credentials and then capturing them.

Observe normal precautions, and have fun.

o Always have a firewall active
o Use a good anti-virus, and keep the signatures up to date
o Never go to a sensitive site by clicking on a link in an e-mail
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Old May 11th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Been there and done that.

I used the internet to check prices when I lived over there. No security issues with that at all.

Going into your account is potential hell. You seem to recognize the potential, especially with wireless.

When I was there I would call my broker to make trades after checking current trades, bids, and asks on the web.

He should know his entry positions. If he needs to know the value of his account every moment, that is another story, and a sad one. Take a vacation.

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Old May 11th, 2007, 04:31 PM
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hopscotch, o unrivaled expert on so many technical subjects -

Please enlighten us as to how a criminal would use information he snatched off a wireless connection. Assume that the user isn't a total bonehead and will only send confidential information to sites secured by the Transport Layer Security protocol.

When you've done that, tell everyone how that's different from what would happen to data grabbed off the DSL line you use at home.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 04:48 PM
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Hey, they're not even using 3DES like some of those pay TV stations (still) do Wasn't DES invented by the CIA in the seventies... Agreed, it's still quite secure.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 09:18 PM
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We took a laptop for the first time this April. In Amsterdam, we bought time from the hotel (5E/hour). You open the internet browser and a screen is presented by the wireless provider, asking for the login code we bought from the hotel desk. I don't think we saw any 'free' networks from there.

In Brussels, at the hotel, we found several 'free' networks, and I rode one pretty much all day (on and off) for free. This was the day hubby had a nasty stomach virus and we had to stay over an extra day. I had to notify the hotel in Paris that we would be arriving the next day, then buy new train tickets online (used hotel printer). Checked emails for hotel response.. and so on. Very handy. Played some music for a while from an internet radio site, too.

In Paris, no 'free' networks within reach of hotel room. The hotel had SFR wireless, more expensive at something like 3E/20 minutes, 8E/hour... We did a couple of 20-minute sessions to check on the house and dog sitter (webcam setup at our house). Found a cafe that offered 1 free hour so we got coffees and finished up our communications.

Also, I downloaded some movies from Movielink.com and we watched a couple of those in our room when we were tired (which hubby was after being so sick). This did not require being connected to the internet.

We didn't live on the computer (except the day I had to find good prices for the train the next day) but loved being able to 'see' our house, our dog and cats, check email, edit photos, write trip notes for scrapbooking, weather report, and so on. Was no extra trouble to transport - hubby uses a backpack for carryon and just put it in there. Sometimes in the hotels, we secured it with a cable lock, other times not. We'll definitely do it again.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 07:48 PM
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Hi Everyone,
Thanks for the great advice!
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Old May 13th, 2007, 11:35 PM
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<<< From a security point of view, there is no difference between a wired network and a wireless one. >>>

Look up "Evil Twin" - it's a fake hotspot pretending to be a real one in the same area. If you log onto that your security disappears into the aether
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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Look up "naïve user" for all the ways evil twins can be thwarted.

I will say it again: if you watch what you're doing, a WiFi connection is as secure as a wired one.

The one thing you should never do is enter sensitive information into a public computer. It could have a program called a "keystroke logger" that traps everything you type.
Robespierre is offline  
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