The New York Times ran an article on the dangers of using public Internet access.
While it is hard to say how likely it is that someone is lurking on a public network, many public networks do not have adequate security.
Last fall, InfoWorld magazine published an article about a security researcher who managed to collect more than 100 passwords, per stay, at hotels with lax security (about half the hotels she tested).
Gathering reliable statistics about security breaches is notoriously difficult, since companies are reluctant to reveal this information. Still, the most recent computer crime and security survey, conducted annually by the Computer Security Institute with the Federal Burea Description of Investigation, found that the average loss from computer security incidents in 2005 was $167,713 per respondent (based on 313 companies and organizations that answered the question).
As Jim Louderback, editor of PC Magazine, noted, the statistics may not matter given the problems one data breach can cause.
The article mostly covers wireless computing. You can read the full article here.
Linux.com has an article on how to create a secure Linux-based wireless access point.
"Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2 (WPA2) is becoming the de facto standard for securing wireless networks, and a mandatory feature for all new Wi-Fi products certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. We all know the security weaknesses of its predecessor, WEP; this time they got it right. Here's how to implement the WPA2 protocol on a Linux host and create a secure wireless access point (WAP) for your network."
LinuxLibrarian.org has an article about how to install and configure KDE Kiosk Admin Tool. The Kiosk Admin Tool is a great feature that lets you easily limit access to only some computer functions. More details about the KDE Kiosk Admin Tool can be found on Linux.sys-con.com, including an interview with the creator of the tool.
If you are not technically-minded and don't want to build the software from source code, you can use a Linux distro like Kubuntu, a KDE version of Ubuntu, to install the KDE Kiosk Admin Tool with just a few click in Synaptic Package Manager. You can find Synaptic in the menu by going to System —> Administration —> Synaptic Package Manager.
This is the Synaptic Package Manager screen on Ubuntu. You should be able to install KDE Kiosk Admin Tool on Ubuntu like this. You should also download KDE with Synaptic and on your next login choose the KDE desktop instead of GNOME. Using KDE on Ubuntu basically turns Ubuntu into Kubuntu. If you are already using Kubuntu, Synaptic will look similar to the image below and you will already be in KDE when you login.
If you are traveling with a laptop, be sure to check out this list of free wireless hotspots from wififreespot.com.
HotspotHaven.com has a wireless hotspot search engine to find free and paid wireless access around the world.
Wi-fihotspotlist.com can help you find commercial wireless Internet access.
Wifinder.com has a list of commercial hotspots.
Jwire.com also has an extensive list of commercial and free wireless Internet hotspots.
Userful.com offers a Linux-based system called Multi-station where you can run 10 Internet access terminal from one computer box, helping you cut down on the expenses of running public terminals.
There is an article about Userful's system on Newsforge that also discusses a similar system by HP that allows up to four terminals to run from one computer box.
If you run a business that uses security cameras such as a hotel, city hostel, and/or Internet cafe, you might be interested in ZoneMinder — a free Linux-based video camera security solution.
Here is a description from the ZoneMinder web site:
"ZoneMinder is intended for use in single or multi-camera video security applications, including commercial or home CCTV, theft prevention and child or family member or home monitoring and other care scenarios. It supports capture, analysis, recording, and monitoring of video data coming from one or more video or network cameras attached to a Linux system. ZoneMinder also support web and semi-automatic control of Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras using a variety of protocols. It is suitable for use as a home video security system and for commercial or professional video security and surveillance. It can also be integrated into a home automation system via X.10 or other protocols."
If you run an Internet cafe or provide any kind of public Internet access, you can get a free web site and free marketing through LinuxForTravelers.com. Your free web site can be used as your main web site, or as a secondary site to bring more customers to your business.
To qualify for a free web site and free marketing services, you must provide either of the following services:
- Have public access computers that run Linux
- Allow customers to boot their own Linux live CDs on your computers
For details, send us an email with information about your Internet cafe through the contact form.
There are Internet cafes that run Linux on their computers. There are also many Internet cafes that will let you boot from live CDs.
If you run an Internet cafe or are thinking about starting one, Linux is a way for you to reduce costs and to reduce time spent fighting viruses.
There is a free open-source POS system for Internet cafes that runs on Linux (and Windows) computers called Zeiberbude. Also check out the ZoneCD, a Linux live CD that can help you set up a free wifi hotspot in as little as one hour. A section of resources for Internet cafe owners is coming soon.
If you are in Cape Town, South Africa, check out this Internet cafe that runs Debian GNU/Linux, Cafe Erte. There is also Speed Net Club, a Linux-based Internet cafe in Bangkok, Thailand. A worldwide directory of Linux-friendly Internet access points around the world is coming soon!