Thursday Jan 10, 2008

Wi-Fi Wide Open

I really enjoyed Bruce Schneier's most recent Wired Security Matters column, "Steal This Wi-Fi". I've always run my wi-fi completely open and unencrypted. I like running it that way though I've been repeatedly warned by nearly everyone I mention it to that an open network will {cause my computers to be hacked | help the terrorists | promote child pornography | make the RIAA sue me | hasten the end-times }. The ISPs and certain vendors of horribly insecure operating systems have done a great job of instilling a paranoid mindset regarding Wi-Fi in most people's minds. The question I've always asked people is "Why is it important to different security policy for your wired and wireless networks?" Unfortunately this isn't generally a question people have thought a lot about. For what ever reasons they have decided that their wireless networks should be securely locked down and I've never heard any great insights as to why.

From now on I'm just going to point people at Bruce's article. I'm not sure that the article is by itself sufficient to convince people that since their network security can't rely exclusively on WPA, they should, in fact, do their security planning assuming that WPA doesn't work, that they might as well run with wireless security disabled.

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