Please, steal my Wi-Fi

   When I got my new DSL internet connection last year and set up my first wireless network in my home, I was faced with the choice of what kind of security to use.  Do I go with WEP, WPA, WPA2, or some other obscure acronym?  I opted for none.  I say, “Share the Wealth.”  My brother thinks I’m stupid and that I’m leaving myself open for hackers and spammers and such.  Bring it on.
 
   To me, it is much more important to be a good neighbor and share my internet connection with anyone nearby who may need it.  If I’m already paying for a certain amount of bandwith anyway, it may as well get used.  It doesn’t cost me any extra, and I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.  It’s just common courtesy and I think everyone should do it.  Plus, have you ever brought your laptop over to a friend’s house and had to screw around with WEP keys that nobody remembers just to try to get an internet connection to check your email or something?  What a pain! 
 
   As for security, I think there are much easier ways for people to steal from me than parking outside my home and trying to hack into my network to get my passwords or a copy of my will or something.  If I were a hacker or spammer I would just go to a coffee shop or the airport or anywhere else with open Wi-Fi, and it would be a lot more convenient.  Plus, I already have to secure my laptop for those times when I am out on a public network, so it’s no different in my own home.  Just put up a good firewall, understand that nothing is fool-proof, and get on with your life.
 
   So, in conclusion, if anybody wants to come over to my house and steal my Wi-Fi, be my guest.  I’ll just tell the RIAA, when they come calling, that it was you downloading all those Metallica albums. 
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5 Responses

  1. LOL, What is your adress? JK.

    I started out agreeing with your brother that is was a dumb thing but I think you converted me. What would be even better (if those involved could ever be convinced of course) is if you and your neighbors all went in on the bill together and then shared the bandwidth AND the cost. Either way, I like your attitude about it.

    What will you do if one of your neighbors is hogging all your bandwidth downloading junk all the time and it slows you down?

    Have you heard of the idea similar to this for spreading the internet into 3rd world countries? People are considering making a giant PTP network with each computer also broadcasting the web which increases it’s reach that much further. Here is an article about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/30/technology/30laptop.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2&oref=slogin “When students take their computers home after school, each machine will stay connected wirelessly to its neighbors in a self-assembling “mesh” at ranges up to a third of a mile. In the process each computer can potentially become an Internet repeater, allowing the Internet to flow out into communities that have not previously had access to it.”

    It seems you have spontaneously decided upon a similar idea. Pretty cool.

    Damon

  2. You’re such a generous man.
    I really hope it doesn’t end up biting you in the ass. 😉
    The sharing part is admirable, but the vulnerability is scary to me. Am I just paranoid?

    And, are you really moving to Canada? I heard a rumor over Christmas.

  3. Damon,
    For bandwidth hoggers, I monitor things and I can see who is connected and if it is any sort of problem I can kick them off and block their MAC address if necessary. It hasn’t been so far.
    I couldn’t get that article to pull up for some reason, but I’ve heard of some of the things you’re talking about. There is a commercial company called FON that does that. If you buy their special router and join their club, you open your internet connection to any other FON users, and you can, in turn, use any FON connection yourself anywhere in the world. Pretty cool. Also, the new XO computer (of the ‘$100 laptop’ or ‘One Laptop Per Child’ fame) has that mesh technology built in to its Linux operating system. It automatically finds other laptops within range and shares internet connections.
    I think we’re eventually headed for ubiquitous Wi-Fi, but I’m not sure how long it will take to get there.

    Rachel,
    I don’t know if you’re paranoid or I’m oblivious, but I think the benefits outweigh the risks. I can neither confirm nor deny any rumors at this point 🙂
    How was your Christmas vacation, by the way? Hope you had fun.

  4. Well, your generosity will certainly make it easier for me to use my new iPhone at your house. 🙂 Another interesting note I link to here from a well-known computer security guru. He has the same viewpoint that you do about his wireless network. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but what do you expect from a guy who drills the RFID chips out of his credit card, huh?

    http://www.wired.com/politics/security/commentary/securitymatters/2008/01/securitymatters_0110

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