How do we know that our passwords our bank details and other personal items are secure and protected when we are working on the Internet. The simple truth to that question is that we have to trust the people who own or manage the network to protect our data. We can secure data on our own computer network by adding security packages and ensuring that our passwords are not easy to guess. Once the data has left our computer or network through the gateway it is in the hands of the next part of the Internet.
The network(s) which make up the Internet are managed by businesses and organisations. A wireless network in your local restaurant or hotel is managed by them, one exception to this is the Eircom wireless network hub, this is managed by Eircom, not the local proprietor.
So if you were managing a network in your business, the minimum requirements will be to check that all data that travels on the network is secured by use of an encryption key, secondly ensure that the encryption key is not made available except to trusted users of the network, and change it regularly. In some cases it is more appropriate to have the company data on a separate network to the public data, a network manager would also seek to protect the network from sniffers, people snooping around the network looking to pick up scraps of data here and there and then use them for their own benefit.
A sophisticated wireless public service network would need the assistance of a network professional; the ins and outs of wireless setup and security are well known by the man who set up the wireless network at the pier in Dingle, Philip Curneen of iLink.
So when it comes to networks, we can use the Latin phrase “caveat emptor”, buyer beware but in this case it is user beware Sit user cavete.
With the wonderful season of Christmas almost upon us, there is a website dedicated to Santa’s activities which is suitable for younger people, it was developed in the US, so it will not present a traditional Irish point of view, but it is still charming, fighter jets aside. The site is at http://www.noradsanta.org. They also have twitter and facebook sites for up to the minute travel information as Santa makes his epic annual journey around the world.
If you have got this far in the article you probably are one of the people who read this column regularly, and I would like to thank you for doing so. I would like to wish all readers a very peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New year. Stay safe online and enjoy your technology.