the open wireless network debate

A while back I posted my tips on how to secure a home wireless router. I’ve been thinking about this again because Bruce Schneier started a debate about open wireless networks, by explaining why he leaves his open.

I feel sympathetic to his viewpoint, but my network is not open, so why?

  1. My ISP’s terms of service forbid sharing. Whether or not I think this makes much sense, it is part of a contract that I agreed to. Bruce says the worst that will happen is that I’d need to find a new ISP, but there isn’t a huge amount of choice around here.
  1. My home network is not well secured. This is really more the pragmatic point. If I opened up my wireless network today, anyone could access my file and print server (to some extent). Obviously this is something I ought to work on to improve, but it’s hard to beat the convenience of just plugging things in. (An alternative would be to set up the router to create separate public and private subnets, but that’s probably more complicated than just making the machines in the network more secure.)

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