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Google's WiFi Blunder

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 4:56pm

Company's collection of private WiFi data triggers security concerns...

Experts are advising people to ramp up security on their home WiFi systems following Google's admission that it collected private data on people who were connected to WiFi in the alleged privacy of their homes.

The internet giant admitted that some of the people it sent out with cameras to get neighborhood "Street Views" for its map section also intercepted WiFi signals from people's homes and collected personal data.

Google says it was a mistake, but authorities in about 30 states say it may have been illegal.

"We're talking e-mails, and passwords and web browsing that most people would expect to be kept private," explained Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

The case highlights the fact that WiFi connections can be risky in both private and public places.

"It's just common sense, you're never as private as you think you are," warns Donna Tapellini, Electronics Editor for Consumer Reports.

She says WiFi signals can be protected.

"What you need to do at home is go into your router settings and make sure that you're using one of the WPA standards, those are safer," Tappellini suggests.

Others also advise frequent use of encryption features when hooked up through a WiFi connection.

Another option for a safer WiFi experience is a personal firewall that helps you restrict the traffic allowed in and out of your computer.

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