Many of us start traveling and have guests in town during the holiday season. Schedules get scrambled, everyone is busy and stressed. So, now, before it all starts, is a good time to take a few minutes to prepare for a safe holiday season.
Nearly everyone with a laptop, "pad" or smartphone regularly uses public and private Wi-Fi access points. Many have what's called WPA2 Security on them. We all dutifully setup a relatively complex password to get on these WiFi systems. Once done, our machines automatically connect to these networks when we're in range. Perfect, easy, and secure - well not quite.
Several months ago, a vulnerability in WPA2 was discovered. Most of the big guys (Microsoft, Apple, etc.) quicly patched their operating systems, some even before the WiFi access point manufacturers. If your systems were automatically updated, you were likely fine. The non-technical press recently caught on to what's been going on and the articles started flowing and so did the phone calls and emails to us about the condition of clients WiFi systems.
This article from the FTC does a good job of reviewing the issue in a non-technical fashion. Be cautious as always about how you access WiFi networks, particularly public ones.