Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/191482/how-an-attacker-could-crack-your-wireless-network-security/
It’s important to secure your wireless network with WPA2 encryption and a strong passphrase. But what sorts of attacks are you actually securing it against? Here’s how attackers crack encrypted wireless networks.
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How does having an open network, "put you in legal danger if they do something illegal and it’s traced back to your IP address" - the courts have repeatedly ruled that an IP address does not equate to a person.
Yes, but notice the wording. "put you in legal danger". It does not mean that you are instantly found guilty of whatever crime.
But, that is one piece of evidence that can and will be used by police/FBI, and will not only lead investigators down the wrong path, it could also cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend yourself.
Not sure about you, but I'd rather protect my wi-fi setup than spend that money.
Beause you lose by just going to court: you're still going to have to pay filing fees, pay a lawyer, and pay to travel to the venue for the trial. Even if the plaintiff doesn't win, you're going to have a hard time getting any of that money back, since there's not currently an automatic "loser pays" system for intellectual property cases.
Never mind IP cases. How about having the FBI knocking on your door because someone used your free & open WiFi to download or host child porn, or send terrorism threats to the White House?
Plenty of police departments are being fooled these days into pounding down the doors of innocent people, just because someone - often not even in the same state or country - made a phone call that convinced them something was amiss at the house. Fortunately, these issues are usually sorted out in a matter of hours once police realize everyone is okay and no harm has really been done. (At least, no harm the SWAT team didn't cause themselves.) But how many days, and how much damage to your life - your money, reputation, time, and liberties - do you think it will take before the police realize it was only your network that was involved in real crimes that actually happened and are hurting or endangering others, and not actually your computers or yourself?
Me, I'd rather deal with the pirates. But I'm still much happier just having a secure WiFi network so I don't have to worry about not knowing who might be using it.
It's the "seizing all your electronics" that would bother me.
This may be true, and it is quite possible that you may not be held directly responsible for the actions of other people who use your network. However, that does not exempt you and your computer network from investigation for involvement in the crime. At the very least, your network effectively becomes a crime scene. You'd be just as adversely impacted, and perhaps arguably even worse so, as a cheap hotel whose rooms are commonly used for any number of illegal activities. The owner's not at fault - he didn't actually do any of the things that prompted police to come to his hotel, and he quite possibly wasn't even aware of any crimes taking place in his establishment - but the hotel room(s) will be roped off and unavailable during the investigation and (especially if these things happen more than once) his business' reputation will be irreversibly damaged by the mere implications. The same will hold true of you and your computer equipment, should your network ever be abused just because you left the door open.
If everyone left their guest networks open and just constrained bandwidth,
the world would be a better place, in my humble opinion.
It's a good point.
If we all had our guest networks open (just constrain bandwidth, if needed), however, this linkage would be even looser and the cases would be that much more difficult to bring. The world would be a better place with more ubiquitous, open wifi, IMHO.
That's a nice, Utopian dream. A lot of people do just that, but with more ISP's capping data usage, hosting an open guest network is probably too much to ask for.
@JungleBoi I'm not sure where anyone brought data limits into the discussion in comments here regarding open WiFi. That's the least of one's worries when there are other risks that may involve police and courts.
Regardless of how much courts may separate one's public IP address from their personal identity, the value of that IP address as a lead in investigations will never be fully negated. If there is child porn being hosted from your public IP, or that IP is identified as the source of online terrorism or hacking activity, there is no way you will convince any reasonable court that police should not investigate what is happening on your network.
Charges may never be brought against you in court, but your network and computers are still valuable material evidence, and you a material witness, in any case involving the use of your network to conduct illegal activities. You and your equipment will, very rightfully, be detained and investigated to assess the degree to which you are or are not directly involved in those activities. Afterwards, you may indeed be free to go - even unscathed by any arrest record or actual prosecution. But, you will most likely spend several hours (if not days) talking to the police, and your equipment could be confiscated for much longer, before it all gets sorted out.
If laws were written to exempt open WiFi networks from such investigation, they would provide anyone who wishes to use the Internet as an avenue for crime an easy defense to avoid investigation even if the crime was traced to their own home's IP.
And that's why laws to that effect never will be put in place. Anything to make it harder to investigate crime is going to be a hard sell to Congress, and legislatively speaking, there's no up-side to this: it doesn't really help the public in any way that government should be concerned with.
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