Jun 13, 2012

How can you set Safari to warn you each time you access an insecure wireless connection?

The first time you access an insecure internet connection, Safari warns you, but I can't figure out how to set up a warning for subsequent time. I travel to Chicago pretty often, and there are a networks that I use with my iPad (sometimes at Starbucks, I hang my head and admit). I have had a couple of times when "Free Wi-Fi" popped up at places I know good and darn well there is no free Wi-Fi, so my assumption is that someone is trolling for a connection to hijack. A little later, I came back to the same location, and there was no warning even though the same "Free Wi-Fi" was still there. I'm usually pretty careful, but I worry about not noticing sometime when I've got something on my mind. I can't figure out how to change settings so that the same unsecured connection generates a security certificate warning on subsequent occasions. Is there a way to change this?



The problem is that even if you go through a secure network connection (SSL or TSL), you can still be using a insecure WiFi connection.  If I was a black hat kind of guy, I would set up an open WiFi in the same area as a coffee shop or some other place that traditionally has free WiFi and sit back and sip my espresso while I intercept your data.  The way Safari warns you about the insecure WiFi connection, you only get a single security certificate warning for THAT connection.  So if you come to the same coffee shop in the morning and afternoon, you will be warned in the morning, but I would have a good chance of snagging you in the afternoon if you weren't paying attention.  Sorry to tell you this, but as far as I know, you can't adjust the settings in IOS or Safari to warn you each time.  I would set a mental red flag every place I saw a WiFi with a name like "Free WiFi" and avoid it like the plague unless I was absolutely certain it was legit.  Even then, I would avoid it like the common cold, but I'm a little paranoid.    


Here's what Apple has to say about identifying secure sites in Safari:

Safari 5.1 (OS X Lion): Identify secure websites

"When you use a website that handles private or financial information, make sure the website is secure.

Look for a lock icon
A lock icon at the top of the Safari window or in the address field means that the website has a certificate. This indicates to Safari that it’s a legitimate website and that information you exchange with it will be encrypted.

To view the contents of a website’s certificate, click the lock icon.

For more information about certificates, see:

Certificates and secure websites

Check the address
Make sure the website’s address begins with “https” (instead of “http”).

Use a secure connection, if available
If the website is not secure, you may have been given a choice between a secure and an insecure connection when logging in to the site. Go back to the page where you logged in and check for a link to a secure login. Even if you don’t plan to view private information, it’s best to use a secure login whenever possible to ensure that your login information and any other information you send is encrypted."
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