[accesscomp] Dan's tip of the day

  • From: "Bob Acosta" <boacosta@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "tektalk discussion" <tektalkdiscussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2013 09:06:54 -0800

    HTG Explains: Why You Shouldn't Host an Open Wi-Fi Network

Open home Wi-Fi networks are still too common. The situation has improved as
wireless router manufacturers began shipping with wireless passwords enabled
by default, but there are still too many unsecured Wi-Fi networks out there.
Hosting an open Wi-Fi network can cause a number of problems for you,
whether you're trying to do a good deed by sharing your connection or just
haven't set up a password yet.

Legal Problems
Legal problems are probably the scariest possible consequence of hosting an
open wireless network. It's not likely that you'll be arrested or served
with a lawsuit, but it's possible.
* Arrests: In 2011, a man was arrested for downloading child
pornography. He never downloaded it - someone nearby used his Wi-Fi network
to do it
nnocent_n_852996.html> . 
* See article here:
* He claimed that he was innocent and, sure enough, the police let him
off the hook three days later. Anything bad done on your open Wi-Fi network
can be traced back to your name.
* Lawsuits: If someone nearby is using your Internet connection to
download all the latest Hollywood films via BitTorrent, it's possible you'll
be served with a lawsuit.
Neither of these is likely to happen, but they can happen. Hosting an open
Wi-Fi network is like playing with fire.

Internet Connection Consequences
Internet service providers in the USA have announced plans to participate in
a "copyright alert system
tml> ." 
See more about this at the link below.

The implementation of this system keeps being delayed, but it's likely that
we'll see it in 2013.
If you're accused of pirating something, your ISP could display alerts
accusing you of piracy. Some ISPs have announced plans to cut off access to
many websites after several accusations.
This is actually a much more reasonable policy than some of the systems in
place internationally, such as the "three strikes" law in place in France.
At strike number three, you lose access to the Internet for up to a year and
are blacklisted by all ISPs for that period - a harsh consequence in today's
Internet-connected economy.
Even if you aren't downloading anything, others could use your open Wi-Fi
network for these purposes and get you in trouble.

Eavesdropping on Unsecured Traffic
When you use a public Wi-Fi network, much of your Internet traffic travels
in unencrypted form. Unless you're using an HTTPS website, people can view
the web pages you're viewing and monitor your web browsing.
If you have an open wireless network, anyone nearby can monitor the
unsecured web pages you're visiting and view their contents. That's how
Google's Street View cars captured so much personally identifiable data
while just driving by, including the contents of emails. The Street View
cars didn't hack into any network, they just captured unencrypted browsing
activity on open Wi-Fi networks.

Exposing Windows File Shares and Local Services
When you connect to a new network in Windows, Windows asks you whether
you're connecting to a Home network or a Public network. A Home network is
more trusted - Windows enables file-sharing features that allow you to share
files, printers, media, and other devices between your computers.
If your home Wi-Fi network is open, it's really more of a public network
ublic-wireless-hotspots/>  instead of a home one. Anyone can connect and
have access to file shares and whatever other local network services you
have enabled. Normally, your network's password secures these resources.

Connection Slowdowns and Bandwidth Limits
Even the fastest Internet connections can only handle so much data at once.
If people are using your connection for BitTorrent 24/7, it's possible that
you'll see your connection slow down. Web pages won't load as fast and files
won't download as quickly.
If you have an Internet service provider that limits the amount of bandwidth
you can use (very common in some parts of the world), people on your open
Wi-Fi network can quickly bring you to your bandwidth limit - or over it.
Someone just checking their email won't cause problems, but people
downloading Blu-Ray copies of the latest movies could take you to your
monthly traffic limit within a few days. This could result in overage
charges or connection throttling - whatever your Internet service provider's
penalty is.

Securing Your Network
If you're still using hosting an open Wi-Fi network, the solution is simple:
Enable WPA security on your wireless router and set a strong password.
Read More: How To Secure Your Wi-Fi Network Against Intrusion
HTG Explains: Why You Shouldn't Host an Open Wi-Fi Network

While it would be nice if open Wi-Fi networks were the norm and we could all
access open Wi-Fi networks free everywhere, we don't live in that perfect
It's been said before: Hosting an open Wi-Fi network is like leaving your
house's door unlocked. It's actually even worse, as your wireless router is
constantly broadcasting the open Wi-Fi network's name and inviting
connections. It's more like leaving your door wide open with a "Come one,
come all" sign in front of it.

Send messages to dthompson5@xxxxxxxxx
This message has been scanned by Microsoft Security essentials
Psalms 91-1, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the
shadow of the Almighty. 
Psalms 91-2, I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress, my God
in whom I trust. 

Robert Acosta, President
Helping Hands for the Blind
Email: boacosta@xxxxxxxxxxx
Web Site: www.helpinghands4theblind.org

You can assist Helping Hands for the Blind by donating your used computers to 
us. If you have a blind friend in need of a computer, please mail us at the 
above address.

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