Traveling cross-country or abroad this Summer? While you're able to easily find free WiFi in airports these days, you shouldn't just hop on the first free and available WiFi signal you can find and start browsing, shopping, or logging in to secure websites.Just as leaving your home network open and unprotected with a password can be dangerous, so is piggybacking on an unsecured WiFi signal in a public area. Hackers can create fake networks in hopes of stealing your personal information. Usually (and most often), these networks are labeled to the tune of "Free Public Wi-Fi," and can be dangerous if used. Check with the airport customer service desk to find proper log-in instructions for its official wireless network. Even if you have to pay a fee to use it, it's probably worth it considering the risk you'll take by using an alternative and free unsecured network!
While relaxing at your Summer destination of choice, staying connected (or wrapping up last-minute work) doesn't have to include the hotel's pricey per-minute Internet surcharge. We found three free WiFi sources for the traveling tech addict, including one digital city.
- The Big Apple — New York City and AT&T just announced the launch of free WiFi service at 20 city parks across all five boroughs. While we'd like to imagine park goers enjoying computer-less moments, free park WiFi is a great excuse to "work from home."
- Airports — Kayak created a handy guide of WiFi at US airports noting which airports provide free and secure WiFi.
- The golden arches — In most major cities it'd be difficult to not pass a steady stream of McDonald's, Starbucks, and other big name restaurants. Many of these chains offer free WiFi, putting the "value" in value meal.
Steer clear of wireless networks labeled "Free Public WiFi." Due to an old Windows XP glitch, phantom connections often appear in network settings and may leave the user vulnerable to hacker manipulation. Select the network obvious to your location, like "TulsaAirport WiFi." And for the sake of your travel companions, limit that WiFi time!
Running Android 3.0, the 10.1-inch tablet will be stocked with 32GB of on-board memory and come with all the bells and whistles of the 3G version (dual core 1Ghz processors, 1GB of RAM, etc.). Where can you get the new tablet? There are going to be plenty of retailers to choose from. Find out more after the break.
Everyone may have been talking about the iPad 2 today, but there was something else brewing at this year's Game Developers Conference in SF — a Netflix partnership and free WiFi coming to the Nintendo 3DS!The 3DS doesn't launch for another few weeks, but these are some exciting developments. First up: the Netflix partnership. According to the keynote speech yesterday, you can watch movies via the Netflix app on your 3DS, and pick them up later on your Wii when you get home (or vice versa). Additionally, you'll be able to watch movie trailers like The Green Lantern in 3D without the need for dorky glasses.
Want to know what's up with the free WiFi? Find out after the break.
Don't know how to set a password for your home wireless network? The Cisco Valet Plus router is insanely easy to set up, walks you through password protection, and also allows you to create guest WiFi accounts so your visitors can surf without gaining access to your personal records. Better safe than sorry!
- Apps and WiFi — Your iPod Touch may be WiFi-only, but that doesn't mean you can't make calls. Apps like Skype and Fring will allow you to make calls over a connection, while Google Voice will even let you get voicemail messages, send SMS text messages, and forward calls from your home line to your new (albeit slightly jimmy-rigged) cell.
Find out how else you could create an iPod Touch workaround after the break.
AT&T debuted its Times Square WiFi coverage in May, but it was limited to specific and small areas of the square. Now, the coverage will be expanded to supplement AT&T's 3G signals to help users in the most crowded area of the city quickly post photos and messages and communicate with friends. And, since using a WiFi connection requires less battery power than a 3G connection, people will be able to stay connected longer without fear of a dead battery.
Smartphone users heading to the biggest party in the country, remember: a 3G signal is still required to make phone calls or receive text messages (unless you're using Google Voice), so plan accordingly!
Last year, Google stepped up to offer some sweet holiday travel perks by sponsoring free WiFi in airports across the country, and this year, Google Chrome is taking its holiday cheer to the clouds by offering free Gogo in-flight WiFi for Virgin America, Delta, and AirTrans passengers.Starting on Nov. 20, travelers can log in during flights on all Virgin America and AirTrans aircrafts, and over 540 planes in Delta's fleet, to check emails, browse their favorite websites, and of course, send the obligatory "wheels up" tweet from 30,000 feet. The promotion ends on Jan. 2, 2011, but thankfully you still have some on-the-ground web-browsing options to choose from all year-round.
Realistically, while the prospect of wirelessly-detonated bombs on airplanes is scary to say the least, others say that the chance of it happening are low. They cite in-flight firewalls and the fact that a credit card is required to pay for WiFi as barriers to potentially dangerous behavior. Not to mention the technological barriers already put in place but not shared with the general public. And, additional airport security measures should prevent dangerous materials from making it onto planes in the first place.
While in-flight WiFi seems an easy target for trouble, the reality is that enough security measures seem to exist, preventing any serious risk to its future.
So how will you know if you've reserved a seat on a WiFi-enabled plane? Find out, and learn about some freebies Southwest is providing after the break.