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Security Pitfalls & Wireless


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#1 OMG its alan alda

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:48 PM

I have a broadband account with a major service provider, they offer free Wifi access which I never use and have no experience with; someone was wanting to use my Wifi so they can save a little money on an ISP, my concern is the safety in doing so and how much it exposes me if the individual is irresponsible and doesn't take proper security measures on his laptop.



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:12 PM

I would think...such things are questions for your ISP, since it's the ISP terms of service that seemingly ought to govern any use of the services provided you.

 

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#3 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:32 PM

Interesting one. I think there are three aspects to it, and I am not quite clear which one is more important to you, so here goes !

 

At the simple level, if this person merely wishes to access the net through your router, then they have to apply the same security protocols to their computer as you  have set on your router. This is now normally WPA-PSK2. They also need your wi-fi access code - the WPA-PSK2 key - to access your router.

 

Security considerations also apply to his computer and its internet security. At a mininum, you would need to assure yourself that he/she has current AV and anti-malware protection, which is kept up to date. That would be considered a reasonable step. As a horrible example, some years ago one of my neighbours had his computer taken over as part of a botnet. His ISP sent him an e-mail terminating his contract immediately for breach of T&Cs - it had been generating spam. It took him some effort to convince the ISP that he was an innocent victim ( if a careless one ) and he had to prove he had adequate security before they opened a new acount for him.

 

Security of your files and data is another concern. This can be done by not sharing files etc. on the network. It is entirely possible to set up a network so that computers 1 and 2 can share data, but not computer 3.

 

If you are referring to something like BT's 'Open Zone' which turns every BT router into a wi-fi hotspot, then this does not, as far as I am aware, create any problems or responsibility for you. To access the internet through this system, you need an access code which the user obtains from BT and NOT from you.

 

So, to sum up. If your friend is wanting to share your router, then you need to take some precautions. If they merely want to use some semi-public hotspot that happens to toriginate from your router, then you have no responsibility.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#4 jhayz

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:54 PM

See also http://compnetworking.about.com/b/2009/03/03/what-is-a-guest-network.htm


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#5 smax013

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:30 AM

I have a broadband account with a major service provider, they offer free Wifi access which I never use and have no experience with; someone was wanting to use my Wifi so they can save a little money on an ISP, my concern is the safety in doing so and how much it exposes me if the individual is irresponsible and doesn't take proper security measures on his laptop.


The first potential issue is that it may be a violation of the Terms of Service of your ISP to allow a neighbor (i.e. someone who does not live in your house and is not a "temporary" guest in your house, but rather lives near you and constantly uses your Internet connection) to use your broadband connection. If it is, then you have to decide whether you want to risk "getting caught" as it could lead to the ISP terminating your service.

The next issue is a matter of how well you trust that person. Since "bad acts" on the Internet are generally traced by an IP address that you get from your ISP, if your friend does "bad things" on the Internet, then those acts could be traced back to you and you could find yourself facing court action, ISP termination, or maybe even criminal charges. While in theory you might likely "sort everything out in the end", you would likely still face some time hassles and maybe actual monetary costs even if you did "sort everything out". It is also possible that you might not sort everything out. In theory, a court should find you "innocent" if they can only prove the "bad acts" originated from your IP address, but cannot prove that YOU specifically committed those acts...but courts have shown that they either don't understand this distinction or are unwilling to accept this distinction. Of course, this same basic concept applies to a family member living in your house using your Internet connection...but the idea that we are potentially liable/responsible for family members (especially any children/dependents) is generally something people will understand and accept, so to speak. So, it will really depend on how much you trust/know that person in combination of how paranoid/risk-adverse you may or may not be.

Last there is the issue of security. You are essentially allowing that person on your personal network. Depending on how you have that network setup and how devices on that network are setup, this could either be a non-issue or a potentially issue. If your router has a "guest network" option for WiFi, then this should be a minimal issue. If not, then you will likely want to make sure that file sharing is turned off on your computers and that you are running good a software firewall on all your computers. You will not want to have any NAS (network attached storage) devices on the network as your friend could potentially access them.




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