Can my computer be hacked through my WiFi connection? If so, how can I detect this? And what can they access or see? Emails, etc? Please respond in layman's terms, as I am not a computer pro.
Can my computer be hacked through my WiFi connection?
Yes. There were/are many publicly known vulnerabilities in routers we all use. Nobody knows how many are out there which are not publicly disclosed yet, but known to malicious people. About the same amount (more? less? infinite?) is in programs you use every day on your computer. So yes, looks pretty doable to me. Have you ever updated your router's firmware?
If so, how can I detect this?
If done properly -- you can't. Certainly, there are many products out there that claim to make everything around you secure for mere (insert amount here) US dollars. But then, it is not uncommon for those to have vulnerabilities as well. So where's proof that those will indeed protect you from attackers that are smart enough? There is none.
And what can they access or see?
Everything. When your system is compromised (that is, the attacker has gained full access to it), everything will be accessible.
EDIT: Yes, just like a pro burglar. You won't even notice he's been there.
EDIT #2: Elaborated a bit to be more helpful.
Just assuming the worst case scenario here. Jul 3, 2014 at 17:07
Not really a helpful answer– schroeder ♦Jul 3, 2014 at 17:17
True; still, I think it fits the question perfectly -- it answers all the questions, it answers in layman's terms, and it does not recommend any commercial products. Jul 3, 2014 at 17:20
It fits the requirements of an answer, it does not fit the question...– schroeder ♦Jul 3, 2014 at 17:22
Tried to expand a bit on this, please feel free to suggest any further edits. Jul 3, 2014 at 17:35
Short answer : Yes .. you had better use a firewall (with anti-spoofing technology) and antivirus
Long answer : There is a wide range of attacks that can be performed through WiFi. The impact of those attacks varies from knowing the pages you've visited to getting your password and\or gaining access over your computer.
Attacks like :
Exploiting a vulnerability in an application you have using Metasploit
Use your shared folders to infect your PC with a worm and\or virus.
What you can do :
Try to encrypt your traffic (use HTTPS everywhere )
Use a good security solution like Eset smart security
Configure your WiFi Access point so it can reject non trusted connections (MAC filtering ?)
"Good solution" is subjective. Can you prove its "goodness"? Jul 3, 2014 at 17:13
Eset smart security has anti-spoofing technology which gives warning when someone on your network is trying to preform ARP poisoning attack– HSNJul 3, 2014 at 17:16
Sorry, but I do not see how this proves it even tries to do what is advertised. Jul 3, 2014 at 17:22