You're right, WEP was junk from the beginning and is easily cracked. I haven't used it in years and any customer with old equipment
I tell to upgrade or shut it down. WPA-PSK with a very strong password is virtually unbeatable. Password has to be at least 15 characters and contain upper and lower case, numbers and special characters. No one has successfully beaten this that I am aware of, no hacker will invest the time it would take for a brute force attack to succeed. Most of my customers hate passwords, they prefer abc123 or something equally difficult to crack (note tongue firmly in cheek), or better still they want nothing at all. The CDs that come with a good quality router install WPA security
on both your computer and the router, all you have to give it is a strong password. Anyone who does not secure their equipment
is actively ignoring what they are being told to do and that is evidence that they are inviting people to use their equipment. How could a court not conclude that?
I want to be clear here, I do not condone hacking into secure networks or pay sites, be they public, private or whatever. But I do see a very big distinction between secured networks and wide open ones. I think that if for no other reason than it can't be policed, wide open networks will soon be viewed as public domain. All that needs to happen is one well thought out legal
challenge and the issue will largely be clarified. There is a responsibility for people to take some action to secure their networks as a sign they do not want anyone else using it and to prevent accidental usage of their network and I believe the ultimately the law will see it this way.
The issue of computers
connecting on their own isn't going away, and in fact with Windoze Vista it has gotten worse. I regularly get customers calling me and telling me that their Vista computer is getting onto the neighbours unsecured network by itself even though it is set up to connect to their own secured network. I have seen this with my own Vista notebook, it hops onto whatever is easiest, not what I tell it to hop onto. My XP notebook never does this. This is not a sign that things are getting better. I am about to put Ubuntu on a wireless notebook to see how it fares in this.
I guess we differ on what freely given means. To me, if you leave your network wide open you are freely giving access to whoever comes along. My ISP has no stipulation in their service contract
about locking down wireless routers or limiting the number of computers that can access my router. If I leave my router open and let people on it, that's not theft of anything by anyone.
Access is actually a big problem where I live and cruise
, it's a rather rural area. There are few public facilities, mostly libraries nowhere near the water
cafes came went broke disappeared, and only a couple of marinas
have WiFi of any kind up and running. But there's usually wide open networks around and just booting your computer on your boat will often find you connected by the time it's up and running.
The situation in Houston
is happening all over the world, Toronto is doing (or has done) the same thing, turning the downtown core
into a huge hotspot. Municipalities with their wholly owned infrastructure partners (think power utilities) are getting into providing WiFI which really P/O's business. Whether it's paid for by taxes
or users, it's still not what a lot of people see as the real future of WiFi. Check out FON
for one group that is advocating free public hotspots worldwide. There are literally dozens of fon hotspots in Toronto already.
Meantime, if I'm ever in Galveston, I'll make sure I stay off your network, and if you're ever in the wilds of eastern Ontario
, feel free to hop on mine!