Connecting to a wireless network puts your computer at risk. Eavesdroppers may intercept traffic sent between client stations and the access point. Malicious access points may attempt to force associations in order to perform man-in-the-middle attacks. Hackers using the same access point may try to exploit your computer. Due to the shared, physically unsecured nature of an 802.11 network, client stations are more likely to be the target of an attack.
Establishing proper security on stations connecting to a wireless network is the first step to creating a secure wireless infrastructure. The security of an entire infrastructure is like a chain; it is only as secure as its weakest link. Typically, wireless stations are laptops or workstations controlled by an individual, not by a team of security professionals. These stations may not be under the same scrutiny as a fileserver or firewall would be. Unfortunately, an unsecured wireless workstation can be an excellent vector for an attack on an entire infrastructure.
There are two main security considerations for safe usage of a client computer on a wireless network. The first is preventing a compromise of the client itself. A compromise of the client could lead to stolen or corrupted data, and provide an entry point for the attacker into the wider network. The second main consideration is using secure methods to communicate with other network services from the client.