General Question

SamIAm's avatar

I am confused about my internet, can you help?

Asked by SamIAm (8690points) December 6th, 2009

I just moved into a new building and I have hard wire internet installed (it came with my tv/phone package… I am waiting for a wireless router) and I can also mooch internet from someone else. I know the mooched internet isn’t secure (for online banking, let’s say) but is my ethernet wire protecting my security online?

I have bills to pay! Please help!

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12 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Yes. You will be safe with the wired connection.

dpworkin's avatar

It depends upon your hardware, your software and the precautions you take. Your router should have a hardware firewall, and you should learn how it works. You should also run a software firewall on each computer, keep you OS and browsers as up-to-date as possible, always installing security patches as they are released. Learn how to create strong passwords and use them properly. Then you should be OK.

dpworkin's avatar

@johnpowell Plenty of people on wired connections are distinctly unsafe.

anon's avatar

Online banking is never going to be 100% secure.
But then again, banking is never going to be 100% reliable.

jrpowell's avatar

@pdworkin :: Context is important. The person asking this question probably doesn’t know what you said in your original reply.

The truth is if you run a ethernet cable from your modem to your computer you will be safe unless your computer is already compromised. And if that is the case it doesn’t matter how you connect.

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dpworkin's avatar

@johnpowell I guess you felt that was necessary. I must have hurt your feelings. I didn’t mean to. Making a mistake as to which software some stranger was using under odd circumstances has not the same catastrophic effect of operating an unprotected computer connected full-time to the internet. Maybe your ego should be less involved.

ModernEpicurian's avatar

@johnpowell Woah! no need to get personal.

@pdworkin @johnpowell
I believe that you both have valid answers depending upon what you believe the question is asking.
If the question is purely whether w ired connection is as secure as a wireless conection the @johnpowell is giving a valid answer. if the question is whether a purely wired connection is safe enough to begin trading money online from scratch, then @pdworkin is giving a perfectly valid answer.

I think it’s a big shame that you two are getting so personal, No need.

dpworkin's avatar

Yeah, you’re right, that was unnecessary. I apologize.

master_mind413's avatar

all routers have a built in fire wall as long as you set it up when you set up the router you will be safe there….. as long as you have a firewall on the computer your Ethernet will be safe to use

jerv's avatar

There are two aspects to this issue.

One is security to the computer and router. With properly configured firewalls and such those should be as safe as they are going to be regardless of whether you hook in via CAT5 (hardwire) or wi-fi. THere is no real difference there.

The other is the unsecure wifi. While any data transmitted to/from a secure (HTTPS) connection is inherently encrypted and thus far safer than normal (HTTP, no S) traffic, wifi allows for a “man in the middle” attack to intercept the signal between your PC and the router; something that cannot happen with a wired connection (unless we want to get into TEMPEST gear which is far less common than packet-sniffing “war-drivers”). Using wifi is inherently less safe for that reason, even on a “secure” connection.

Then again, if you are paying with a credit card, your bank likely has certain fraud protections to limit/eliminate your losses in the event that you ARE hacked.

Also bear in mind that handing your plastic to a waitress is also quite risky ;)

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