Sunday, February 17, 2008

Open WiFi Horizons

Give WiFi Leechers Computer Rage with Executable Command Fun - Haroon Malik @ Gizmodo
Steal This WiFi - Bruce Schneier @ Wired

I'm siding with Schneier on this one. I keep the WiFi portal in my house open for the neighbors to use, or anyone who visits the house with a wifi-capable device. I don't see much of a point in encrypting it since most of my neighbors aren't the sort to try and hack into my internet access.
Now, I do understand the situation is probably different for those of us who live in apartments and don't want someone a floor below piggybacking on your internet expenses. But that's nothing that closing the system or actually talking to the person and perhaps the rest of the tenants about a co-op wifi network wouldn't solve.
I don't see much of a point in closing off a wifi network on the basis of security or of good hospitality. The devices we use so frequently now actually require this kind of openness of wifi networks. While some cities are working on an open infrastructure it would make more sense to engage the community to open up wifi access. Plus, I have to agree with Schneier again when he says that if your computer or device is lacking the proper security then having a closed network at home or in an apartment or wherever isn't much comfort. Keeping an open network requires the users to actually keep their security up to date, which in the grand scheme of things, isn't a bad idea at all.

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