Many people use wireless networks for convenience and flexibility. Wireless can be provided at hotels, coffee shops, or libraries. If not properly configured, wireless networks could provide a way to listen in on your computer's communications, risking your personal information.

Wireless networks should be configured for encryption, specifically a form called WPA or WPA2. This type of encryption should require a password that is complex and unguessable to access.

Tip: For best security, use WPA2 – AES and a very long pass-phrase (20 or more complex characters). Don’t worry; you usually only have to use that pass-phrase once!

If you have wireless at home, configure it for security, and customize important settings. Default passwords (those provided by hardware makers) should be changed, and wireless passwords should be something you choose.

If you are a business and provide customers with wireless Internet access, ensure these wireless systems are completely isolated from your internal computer systems.

Not all types of your personal information are at risk from unsecured wireless networks. Certain secure sites (like www.associatedbank.com) employ security that prevents eavesdropping, but you should still take extra precautions. If you have to use unsecured wireless networks, use them only for casual web browsing.

To learn more about wireless security, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website Onguardonline.

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