Discuss: WiFi Security

May 14, 2010 at 06:01:06
Specs: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium, 1.9 GHz / 3836 MB
Hi all,

This week's poll question is about new fines in Germany for those who don't secure their wireless connections. Discuss here if you think this should happen everywhere, and, if you like, the poll results themselves.


See More: Discuss: WiFi Security

May 15, 2010 at 05:46:23
I hadn't heard about this yet so I had to go looking:


In a lot of ways, this makes sense but to me it's a slippery slope.

I agree that you should secure your wireless and prevent other's from using it. I'm a network technician by trade and I work with this technology. Would I leave my LAN at home open to intrusion? Hell NO! Would I leave my wireless wide open so some child poronographer or war driving thief can transfer illegal files around? Hell NO!

But, if you're too lazy, or too stupid to do so yourself, do I have the right to force you to?

A lot of people simply don't know (by that I mean, they're not lazy or stupid, just technologically challenged). In a lot of cases, as they buy their wireless router the salesperson at the store even warns them to encrypt their wireless. They smile and nod with that blank look in their eye and take their new purchase home and set it up and leave it unencrypted because they just don't understand.

I think all of us who know better have an obligation to try to convnince people who don't to secure their wirless. Help them if need be (I've helped a few for free). But force them or fine them if they don't. I'm against that.

I doubt there are many people out there who actually know about wireless security that opt for leaving their wireless network wide open. Most of us here know better and I'd wager everybody else like me, who knows better, and has a wireless network has it secured. I'd bet cash money the vast majority of unsecured wireless networks are people who just don't know. I think they need to be educated, not fined.

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May 16, 2010 at 09:21:36
I agree with Curt.

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May 16, 2010 at 09:52:11
I agree that security is important, and surely the
manufacturers could help in this by setting a network key by
default and including simple instructions in the quick set-up
guide. Anyone who wants to disable their security would have
to go through the process themselves - the equivalent of
opting out, rather than the current 'opting in' situation. I think
Netgear kit comes pre-secured, but not too sure about other

As to enforcing by law, I'm not so sure, we have enough laws
as it is.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..."

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May 18, 2010 at 23:39:41
Personally I wouldn't use wireless at home. My home isn't so big that I can't run a few feet of cable. I just am not that wealthy. My dsl modem supplied by my isp has a built in router that will do both wired and wireless but I keep the wireless side disabled. I heard several years ago that wireless was slower and you could have problems signal drop so I stayed away from it by the reasoning that I can't afford the best and fastest on the market so I don't need to give up any speed.

As for the security side of things I myself have logged in through others networks with my laptop, normally at work, and it scares the heck out of me how simple it is. I aint that bright and I am not attempting to force my way in to do something bad so I can just imagine what someone who is can do. I don't know this to be true but I am guessing if someone does do something bad it gets traced back to your connection not their computer.

My daughter lives in N.C. and gets free wireless because of this. She lives just a few feet behind the office building of a big contruction company that has a wireless network. Directly across the street is a McDonalds that offers free service to its customers and not far to one side is a waffle house that does the same. She had spoken to one of the managers at the construction company, fearing they would catch on and she would have to pay for months of service, and he told her that at any given time there may be over 100 computers trying to access the web on their network. "The service sucks so bad no one would notice" he said. She told me from time to time she thinks someone is trying to save a file to her computer when she is connected to them but she is not sure.

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May 26, 2010 at 09:37:59
I would have no problem with fines for failing to secure a network for 2 reasons:

1 - Give the cash to the schools so they can upgrade their technology more often.

2 - The harder it is for spammers and porn-ers to pass files around, the better it is for everyone.

I live across from a wooded area. A few Saturdays ago I saw a pick-up truck, with the driver inside, parked by the woods for a couple of hours.

The next morning, he was back in the same spot. I walked over, said I was just being a concerned neighbor and asked him what he was doing.

The scruffy looking driver gave me this attitude filled response, as he pointed to his laptop.

"I'm not hurting anyone, I'm just tapping into someone's network. You have a problem with that?"

The easy answer was "No." Then I called my town's non-emergency police number, who sent a car around and the guy hasn't been back since.

One day might have been OK, maybe he just wanted to take a break. But when he was back early the next morning to "tap" in again, I gotta think something else was going on.

I then took an iPod and walked the area. I saw my (secured) network go away and saw a LinkSys router come on line. As I got closer to a neighbor's house the signal got stronger, so I knocked on his door and told him what was going on.

Sure enough, it was a new router and he hadn't secured it. It's secured now.

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June 28, 2010 at 12:20:25
Oh, I don't lock my WiFi ohh, the world will die!!!!! No seriously many people don't do it because :
1. The don't know how to
2.They don't want to strain their memory
3. They don't mind too much that anyone could use thier connection.
Overall, whats the whole point?

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June 30, 2010 at 04:00:32
i think everyone should be able to decide for themselves but if you choose not to put effort in security you can't complain if some problem comes up.
p.s. i see one good point in all of this: some people really don't know how to or why protect their wifi. if it's forced by law, they will learn this.

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June 30, 2010 at 05:27:24
As long as you don't try and nick their files etc, it's not costing them anything for you to connect through their router so what are you stealing?.

You are stealing bandwidth which does cost money.


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June 30, 2010 at 09:44:40
re: As long as you don't try and nick their files etc, it's not costing them anything for you to connect through their router so what are you stealing?.

Copied without permission from:


(The full article is available at that site)

Masking criminal activity

An unauthorized user could abuse the victim's connection for malicious purposes like hacking, launching a DoS attack, or distributing illegal material. Since the intruder is a part of the private network and sits behind its gateway device, any traffic between him and the Internet will appear to be coming from the public IP address the ISP assigned to the victim. The ISP has no idea how many computers are behind the gateway, who they belong to, and what they are used for. If the criminal activity is discovered and investigated, the origin of the attack will be traced back to the victim's broadband account. It is a pretty safe bet that nobody wants to be accused of and go to jail for distributing child pornography or hacking into restricted company or government networks (just to mention a few examples) if the crime was in reality committed by a cracker from behind an innocent victim's network. Reviewing ISP's Terms of Service usually reveals a clause that not only allows the ISP to reveal customer information to the authorities to assist with legitimate criminal investigations, but also holds the customer responsible for any activities the connection is (ab)used for.

Backdoor into corporate networks

In addition, a wireless network could also be an indirect backdoor into a corporate network. An intruder can specifically target an employee of a company whose confidential information is valuable to him for monetary or competitive reasons. If that employee establishes a VPN connection either permanently from his gateway or from a machine behind his gateway to the company network, the intruder can then piggyback on the VPN tunnel and gain unauthorized access to company resources, a serious security breach and every network administrator's nightmare.

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July 2, 2010 at 02:43:05
Network security is an important thing for small businesses and large businesses. Telecommuters that work from home and access corporate networks also need to be very security conscious. Most business level security and threat management appliances are very expensive putting them out of the reach of many people and companies.

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July 2, 2010 at 16:06:02
Overall I don't agree with the concept of fines for lack of network security.

However, it might force folk to seek advice or assistance so I suppose that would be a good thing. Most home insurances demand specific security and I wonder if I would have spent so much time and trouble if they had not done so. Maybe, maybe not...

Google is NOT the only Search Engine!

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July 16, 2010 at 08:57:07
I am totally against the idea. By all means make people aware of
the dangers, and how easy it is to set up a network key. But
fining people? Isn't that just a tax for non techie types?

Amazingly, the vast majority of people are not criminal types
hellbent on distributing pornography and/or malware. I do think
downloading large files or video is bad manners but just surfing
the net? Not a big deal

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July 16, 2010 at 14:16:57
Re #13

I agree in principle but I suppose the other side of the coin is that having no security could allow others to get up to some nasty tricks on the internet.

Google is NOT the only Search Engine!

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July 16, 2010 at 22:21:34
While I agree that ignorance is no excuse for the law this does sort of smell of the idea "Let's tax them because they are too stupid to know better". I agree the networks should be secured and maybe I could go along with a company that is large enough to have an IT department getting a fine for not doing so but the average user? Sounds like someone is reaching just to bring in tax dollars. If this is imposed by the government then there has to be positions made up to police this. These positions have to be paid. The tax payer has to pay them regaurdless of the state of their network or if one even exists.

I am secretary of state. I have a brother in law that has no education and can not keep a job. My wife won't perform her um.... wifely duties unless I give this worthless scunk a job. Bingo I'll make up some seriously lame sh*t position that will pay him double the average salary and give him an office to sit in all day so I can get a little when I get home!!!

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July 19, 2010 at 10:02:15
Well, The acronym WiFi and the word security really don't go together very well. As we all know, most people use WEP, and WEP can be broken in about 5 seconds flat, if that. There are much more up-to-date security schemes for wifi now, but all have crackers available for anyone to download, so instead of taking 5 seconds to crack, it takes 30, big woop.

I personally have the best security available... I don't do wifi. XD

PowerMac 9600(1 ghz G4)
512mb RAM
50gb SCSI
ATi 9200 PCI

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July 19, 2010 at 14:40:56

WPA2/AES is pretty good if you have a complex password.

As regards your general point:-

Better still, don't have internet access at all.
Best of the lot, don't even have a computer.

To live you have to take calculated risks.

Google is NOT the only Search Engine!

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July 20, 2010 at 14:11:15
My father in law is so parinoid that "big brother" is watching that he won't own a computer or have cable tv. We tried to give him a computer after he came over once and looked at and played with one of ours and he said he would never be able to get online because as soon as you plug that phone cable in the whole world has access to all your personal imformation. When he retired as a machinist after nearly 40 years from a company he almost helped build they gave him his retirement in one lump sum. It was so scary to hime to put this money in a bank account. For almost 90 days he had this check for 6 figures laying on his dressor before he finally opened a bank account. Now he gets mad because the bank puts money in his account (interest). He comlains that them having access means they are spying on him.

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