Is using a dongle secure?

  bturner 23 Aug 13
Locked

Is using a Vodafone dongle susceptible as far as security goes?

I was watching a programme last night that warned of the poor security when using a wireless connection and wondered if that applied to dongles too as I may need to be using one when I go abroad.

  Forum Editor 24 Aug 13

The thing to remember is that no device which accesses any form of network is totally secure. Wireless technology provides opportunities for misuse, and it would be wrong to suggest otherwise. When you set up the dongle, make sure that you haven't got file-sharing enabled.

That said, I think a sense of perspective is a good thing here - the average user is very unlikely to experience any form of intrusion when using a wireless dongle. I've used one for years,and I've never had cause for concern. If,on the other hand, your mobile device is stuffed with Top Secret files it would not make sense to use the dongle in a crowded airport for instance, or in a coffee shop where everyone is using a laptop.

  bturner 24 Aug 13

Thank-you for the reply and tip.

I will not be using my laptop in the airport but I will be renting an apartment in a gated complex and doing my online banking there.

  alanrwood 24 Aug 13

Bank connections are normally encrypted anyway. Also the banks give the guarantee that you will not lose money through internet use providing you are not negligent ie. that you have up to date security installed.

  bturner 24 Aug 13

Thanks for the reply Alan.

I have Micrososft security essentials real time protection running and run the free version of superantispyware and malwarebytes weekly.

Do you recommend anything else?

  alanrwood 24 Aug 13

Popular opinion says that MSE is a bit weak but MWB and SAS are good programs if kept updated. I use MSE on 4 of my machine and never had a problem but that does not mean that others are in a similar position. There are plenty of free professional Antivirus programs out there including Avast, Avira, AVG and several others.

These of course will have no effect on external security using the Dongle as the device is wireless and always susceptible to interception of the wireless signal. As I say bank connections are encrypted to prevent just this kind of interception Having said that I can't see any criminal gang deliberately targeting you Unless you are a multi millionaire and it is worth their while to expend a lot of resources doing so.

I have used internet dongles since 2003 and never ever had a problem and I do use it extensively for banking.

  Forum Editor 24 Aug 13

"I will be renting an apartment in a gated complex and doing my online banking there."

That's precisely the situation that needs careful thought. You asked about using the dongle, but of course that isn't what needs protecting, it's simply a wireless connection device - a doorway through which someone with the necessary know-how can walk right in. The risk is to your computer itself, and you have already taken steps to protect it and your files.

  alanrwood 24 Aug 13

Exactly. Just one other thing occurs to me. When using the Dongle do you have an active firewall. Most ADSL routers have one built in but when using a Dongle it isn't there any more so it might be well to just check that the Windows firewall is active. To be honest I'm not sure if that is linked to MSE in any way.

  bturner 24 Aug 13

Thanks a lot for the replies.

I am using Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) Service Pack 1 (build 7601)

I checked by going to Start, search programmes and files and typing in "Firewall" and see that it is turned on.

  alanrwood 24 Aug 13

Hi

Good to be of some assistance. Surf Safe

Regards Alan

  Forum Editor 26 Aug 13

One last thing to remember...

Your mobile network provider will make hefty charges for data transfers when you are roaming. A dongle is the same as a mobile phone in that respect. Even 'normal' internet use can quickly result in a sizeable additional charge to your phone account.

Check with Vodafone before you go, so there are no nasty surprises waiting for you when you get back.

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