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Think of a wireless network like a swimming pool in your back yard. If you put up a tall wooden fence, most people won't even know you have one. If you tear it down or leave the gate wide open with a sign that says, "come on in - no life guard on duty" then you are not truly absolved of responsibility if someone slips on the asphalt or drown.
I guess I'm just saying Well I'm not going to read all of this. I have now joined and am waiting for the hardware now. I will be a linus of course, and I will be the 3rd person on my street Vienna to offer a access point. I don't waste time and energy with defensive measures unless I perceive risk, and I perceive no risk in leaving my wifi network open.
I get no end of flak from amused friends and family, but there you have it. Unfortunalety, in Germany, you're not only liable for everything done through your internet connection, but basically you also have to make logs about who is using your wifi, and keep them for 6 months in case law enforcement want to take a look at them they call it "Vorratsdatenspeicherung", kind of "preemtive data collection".
So while the idiots are still ruling this country, I'll keep my network closed. I'm glad to hear "it happens".
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Now, then, can you cite a reference for the claim? I've heard of many kiddie-porn arrests, but these appear to be followed by convictions, not a silent dropping of charges. This suggests that the cops are in fact doing examinations before an arrest is made, which is contrary to another claim you made. Perhaps a more direct approach to the problematic government may be a good idea, rather than rolling over and taking it? I just wanted to write with a minor correction about Fon: Linuses' Fon access points aren't actually free for aliens non-foneros to use, it's just that the Linus doesn't get paid.
It used to be that Linuses took no payment for use of their access point, and in exchange got to use other foneros' APs for free, whilst Bills got half of the day ticket price after tax , but had to pay. Now all foneros get free surfing, so there's no real benefit to being a Linus any more. Aliens pay last time I looked 3 Euros or 3 US Dollars for a day pass, or less if you buy a multipack.
P0rn lover Really how many do you think there are? Wake up and smell the coffee. Kiddie is simply not popular for one simple reason. Most folk want tits! Ask yourself this simple question for the men. How much porn did you look at this last year and how much of was kiddie porn?
Or even illegal porn of any sort? Mr Schneier, I too run an open newtork at home It is a curtosy. If a car load of kids want to download porn while parked outside my house I have bigger problems than this in my neighbourhood Drug use for one. Get a grip people. I have said for a long time that running WEP just means that people won't get on the network by mistake.
My rural relatives are on satellite, and they have serious download limit issues, so they also run a closed network, just to retain control over that. Excellent arguments, all of them. These folks have been working and arguing for free and open wireless access for nearly 8 years now. There's not enough competition in broadband in my market to make that a very attractive option.
I even run an access point instead of a router so I get a real IP on my computer. I've had my XP box setup this way for years without being hacked. I don't have anything I really care about on that system, so I don't care if it does get hacked, it's easy enough to rebuild. I've been been running this way as an experiment.
I run the built in firewall as my only protection and have yet to have a problem. I have also disabled any unused services such as the server service, computer browser etc. That's why I laugh at people that say XP can't be secure. Part of it is just simply 'being friendly'. I have a small data center located in the basement of my home. If at all, one thing that I've learned over the years of working in IT outside of it doesn't pay enough, hours are weird or lousy, and that many end-users are impatient beyond belief is that it's like trying to hold back the ocean with a broom -- you just can't keep it up.
In some regards, the same holds true with security. It's usually a 'Whack-A-Mole' scenario, and you never EVER seem to appear to get caught up, or catch the 'bad guys' -- it's almost appears to be never-ending. Same goes with wi-fi. I'm 'old school' and come from a time when hacking was done for fun, for educational purposes, and just because we could do it. The problem is, is that today's hacker is much more differently motivated, and being paranoid about these things won't get us any farther.
In fact, to me, it's a step backward. We, as a society, are falling onto a 'slippery slope' of constant surveillance, cameras everywhere, growing number of police units -- and for what? To "feel" more secure? How is that considered "secure"? The same might hold true with trying to protect something that you don't know where it's originating from, esp.
Being a ham radio operator and trying to track down "jammers" over the years -- has been difficult -- if at best. For home use, yeah, I try and watch the network, and try to keep my servers up-to-date, patched and check the logs periodically. It just doesn't. A few days ago, someone was trying to break into the AP.
It's a simple Linksys AP, and its firmware wasn't up-to-date bought it at a local hamfest , as it had its original firmware which I didn't bother checking. I went to Linksys, downloaded the latest firmware, then updated it. Then I turned off the Linksys AP. A few hours later, I actually got a nasty-gram from the would-be-hacker trying to penetrate my network. Needless to say, he was simply trying to check his email, and didn't know if I was encrypted or not. OK, so I'd give him maybe a "B-" for the effort and excuse, but it kinda made me think along the lines of what you said about open networks.
So this evening, I turned it back on, and left it on -- and open. Personally, matters of economics will rule the decision, not forcing consumers into thinking that they're criminals, and maybe everyone will be happy -- maybe. In closing, my grandmother always told me that modern society appears to be loosing it's grip on humanity. Maybe this is what she meant. The secret sauce is that the software that routes data efficiently thought the closest nodes. Meraki has a big and growing network of these open network repeaters in San Francisco--the SF network is powered completely by Meraki via a few dozen hardwired broadband points around the city and access is provided free of charge.
Just because you have found an 'open channel' does not mean that you can abuse it. If at all, many people are providing that 'open channel' as a courtesy; meaning, it's a "privilege", not a "right". One more thing, I am -- by no means -- condoning nor promoting "openness" in lieu of "anonymity" for others to benefit from downloading videos or music illegally through other people's Internet connections. Morally, ethically, and legally -- it's just wrong. Don't do it!!! There is an awful lot of "cargo cult" security about. For example, many sites put a "firewall" on their network and assume that's solved the security problem.
The trouble is, firewalls fail silently and some threats, such as the recent multicast packet problem with windows, can fly past the firewall without even slowing down. While running an open WAP may be acceptable to Bruce, it is worth pointing out that he is not suggesting that it is good practice for all. Bruce, please correct me if I am wrong An 'average' user of the Internet is likely to be running one or more vulnerable applications or running applications that pass credentials or other sensitive information unencrypted.
To those that are setting up clients with unencrypted WAPs - Have you made your clients aware of the risks involved? While you're at it, why not run Tor on your open wireless so everyone jumping on your connection without permission gets routed through the Tor network? This is a classic problem. If you live in an area with few people who want to use your network, it may make sense to leave it open. In rural areas, it's reasonable to knock on someone's door and ask to use their phone or bathroom.
Making a blank statement that, "all wireless networks should be open," is as ridiculous as saying, "locks should be illegal. There may truly be more of these environments where sharing is reasonable but on a larger scale, the underlying trend of humans to satisfy their own needs will take over. Right now, there's a barrier to entry into the WiFi game. As things like One Laptop Per Child change economies of scale on wireless terminal devices, we'll find more unscrupulous hoodlums who aren't affected by the same unentitled though that some are: if I destroy my community, I will be among those who suffer.
This debate is a good mix of the theoretical and the empirical, and it's worth examining where they differ, or in some cases, doing study to see what really happens. Bruce is quite right that securing your computers, rather than your network, is the only truly good approach. This is particularly true because unsecured computers on a local net may get infected by malware which then gets a free pass in attacking other local computers because it is "trusted.
Or if you install malware the firewall could not block, and there is no perfect firewall. However, at the same time, because consumer computers mostly, but not exclusively, Windows are not properly secured, there is some merit in giving them more protection.
In an ideal world, each computer is secure and doesn't benefit from the false promise of a firewall. Typical consumer PCs do benefit, however. The real issue is that the firewall network protection gives people a false sense of security and stops them from doing more. Because the real security result is a complex mixture of the individual security of machines, and the nature and frequency of attacks from various sources, the true answer actually can't be worked out from theory.
The true answer would come by studying the various strategies and their success rate at keeping computers protected. My guess is that instances of attack via open wireless network are quite rare compared to other sources of attack. Finally, the question rarely addressed properly in security is the underestimated importance of UI.
Good security with bad UI remains undeployed, and thus can be inferior to lesser security with better UI. It is hard to welcome your personal guests on your network, hard to install on all devices and thus we often will see motives to leave it off. I guess I'm one of those ppl who locks their front door when leaving the house. No stranger gets a free ride or a look at my traffic.
It's not a security decision it's a decision based on personal preferences. Some ppl also dont like to lay naked on the beach.. Interesting article. I've always thought of hardening a wireless connection as part of a "defense in depth" strategy. Use secure network protocols, and tunnel insecure network protocols over a secure protocol. These protocols are designed specifically to allow secure communication over an untrusted network.
If all of your network traffic is encrypted, it doesn't matter if random strangers can park their cars outside and sniff packets. Lots of back and forth on this one, but fundamentally I agree with Bruce: running an open access point is a marginal risk at worst for someone who takes precautions to protect their hosts. I do it, but that's because one of my neighbors plays bandwidth-intensive video games and hogged my network in the past. The whole "but a Porn Panderer may use my network" seems ridiculous to me.
Of course, if a pair of officers showed up at my door with a warrant to search my house they wouldn't find any kiddie porn, and if they hauled off my computer they'd find a few hundred legally acquired PDFs of research papers and about 80 GB of MP3s I ripped off my own CD collection.
It would be a logistical pain in the ass, but the only way it would lead to an actual legal problem would be if my local district attorney was seriously abusing their authority. Not that this can't happen, but I'd consider this a very, very improbable risk. I enjoyed reading this article. I like how you think Bruce. The ordinary folk thinks that someone depicted in the movie War Games will break into their Internet and download Child porn and perpetuate worms and that the safety of the internet will be defeated if Open Networks are allowed. I myself run an open network and never once had any trouble.
I run my WRT54G on max mW for maximum coverage so my neighbors can get on the internet if they want to.
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Now if they start sucking bandwidth down, i will rate limit them. I'm glad to see there are still open minded people out there that write articles like this. Makes my heart feel warm. Well, I drove around looking for a network to get on, found one and downloaded the AOL software and saved the day. Thank you to whomever it was that had an open network! And thank you Bruce for writing this article! I'm blogging this! What issue no one seems to be addressing is the ethics of having an open wifi system.
My daughter asked me what I thought of getting wifi from a neighbor. I told her I thought it was stealing -- not from the neighbor, necessarily, but from the ISP. Bruce, would you put a splitter on your cable TV co-ax or your satellite TV feed and run it over the fence to your neighbor's house? Open wifi isn't stealing from your ISP, they charge an enormous about for a ridiculously small download quota.
From an purely ethical standpoint, your ISP provides you with bandwidth, and you pay them for the bandwidth, and they really have no ethical grounds to stand on to tell you how you ought to use that bandwidth.
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You can argue that you have an ethical obligation to follow the terms of the contract, but I don't see outright that you have any other obligation to your ISP whatsoever. From a contractual standpoint, many ISP's have clauses in their contracts which forbid their subscribers from sharing their DSL access, much like cable TV providers forbid you from sharing your cable TV.
I have yet to see a Terms and Conditions that requires a DSL customer to run any particular configuration on their wireless router. Most likely, you are well within your contractual rights to run an open wireless access point. Setting up an open WAP and walking around to your neighbors telling them not to get DSL because they can connect to your WAP would be actively trying to share your connection, and a violation of your contract. Just plugging in a WAP and letting people find it for themselves and, presumably, use it is not.
I think that shows that you are quite a new internet user and forget where this all comes from. ISPs which provide asymmetric links with the possible exception of low speed wireless links for mobile devices or which attempt to limit the number of users on a connection are themselves leeches. There should be zero tolerance for them. The difference between this and the cable network is that in the cable network all the value programmes comes from the top down.
Thus the cable company is actually delivering something of "value". Well, okay I admit I'm lying, but the solution to that is not to steal television, it's to go and do something worthwhile instead.
Like posting inane comments on Bruces blog. You are relying on the infrastructure we built and you aren't willing to share even when you are able at no cost to yourself. Could you talk a little about risk mitigation strategies. Do you use a VPN most of the time? Do you give your own computers priority over others?
Are you ready to lock down if it became a problem? How big is your garden? My problem with this is that I think fully open WLAN encourages less expert users to get used to unencrypted network connections. I would rather provide an open local network with access to some documentation on a web server and an open access IPSEC gateway.
Now nobody would use it of course, but at least that would make it "secure" The criticism is well warranted, for many reasons. Some of the other posters have made this well clear. So, I'll just note a few. To put is briefly, having an unsecured wireless network may not be a security risk for you, because you are well aware of how to secure your use of this connection, such as by employing a VPN or other encryption, or by simply connecting via a wired line for your own use. But for the average person, providing an unsecured network, or using one in an insecure manner, is an unreasonable risk because it is so easy to intercept all communications and view any that are unencrypted.
The YouTube video at the following link demonstrates why this can be a significant risk for the provider using weak WEP encryption in this case. And users of your network are relying on your benevolence and honesty, because you can very easily intercept everything they do through your connection. They are unlikely to have your level of skill and knowledge, and are therefore unlikely to secure their communication.
Therefore I cannot help but find fault with your reasoning, and I believe your advise in this matter is uncharacteristically unwise and disingenuous. And although, it has generated some worthwhile debate, Bruce, there really are better ways for you to provoke such debate without leading uninformed users down the primrose path.
The RIAA has conducted about 26, lawsuits, and there are more than 15 million music downloaders. Mark Mulligan of Jupiter Research said it best: "If you're a file sharer, you know that the likelihood of you being caught is very similar to that of being hit by an asteroid. I can't find an individuals chance of being hit by an asteroid but Chance that Earth will experience a catastrophic collision with an asteroid in the next years: 1 in 5, Chance of dying in such a collision: 1 in 20, But we need to have a common time denominator.
The music sharing lawsuits have been going on for about 5 years? This isn't splitting hairs. If you have an open access point, then, admittedly someone may use it to download music illegally. I think most posters are missing an important part of what Bruce is saying - it's just not worth the hassle. Sure, if you run an open wi fi connection, bad things could happen, but guess what? Next time you're in an airport, try this experiment. Drop a dollar bill onto a major walkway, then just sit down and watch what happens. Dollars to doughnuts, that bill will be sitting there when you go to get on the plane.
At a minimum, hundreds of people will walk by, see the bill and step over it. I clipped a bill to my car antenna and it was months before somebody stole it I lived near Cleveland OH and was in and out of high population areas all the time. I've been on-line since baud bbs' and have yet to get have my virus scanner pick up anything. No, I am not a new internet user. Furthermore, I find the distinctions you're drawing between cable companies and ISPs to be flawed. Whether the source is top-down or community generated makes no difference -- you're paying for the access. I find your best ethical argument your contractual one.
If the ISPs themselves do not forbid setting up WiFis, then the result of doing so cannot be considered theft. Thanks for your response. One of our neighbors gave their wireless network the station name "VirusFarm". Interesting 'security' measure, yes? Driving while talking on your cell phone drastically reduces your reaction time some studies have reported a decrease greater than that of someone whose blood alcohol level is greater than 0. Mike M. It didn't work for Javier Perez last year.
Now there is some legal precedent that people might be held accountable for what happens on their network connection. Or that it can somehow waive your 4th amendment rights against search and seizure. Seriously, I leave the front door unlocked all the time. I'm 6'5" and weigh lbs. If somebody breaks in while I'm lounging around, who's likely to come out of that encounter with broken bones? Why do I bother setting up a passphrase with mid-word capitals that none of my friends can get right? Bruce's example reflects the simple truth of risk vs.
An open network has very low risk. If I freeload on an open network, what do I do? Check my email, write my blog, update my rpm's, and surf for pron if the trip has been long. Who cares? Do I say - hmmm, open network, the machines here must be vulnerable? I don't have the time. It's much more important to keep important files encrypted than to secure your network.
Nothing's going to stop the kids from downloading that program offering free anime or the spouse from playing internet games or the latest widget. Worry about what's important. Especially here in Germany, there are examples of people FALSELY suspected for child pornography, with a search of the home and the work place, where the wife and the boss took immediate action. Thanks for this Bruce. I totally agree with you. Obviously we are talking "fair use"; not bandwidth hogging or when the owner has size-limited downloads.
Was it not Thomas Jefferson who? It's all right for you living in the land of the free. Here in the UK, the land of surveillance and petty authority, we already have a conviction for just this there may have been a sort of plea-bargain - illegal here - behind this ,. Next they'll get you for depriving Rupert Murdoch of his legitimate income if you read someone else's newspaper over their shoulder in the train!
This article is 2. Have any of the threats mentioned in it come to fruition? Are the courts in the UK jammed with similar cases? Or was it all just a huge FUD-flinging episode? I note with amusement how running an open WiFi is equated to being a child pornographer. Or at least providing plausible deniability to that vast army of paedophiles running around in the streets, unchecked.
What do we call journalists who repeat state propaganda without critical review? The case at hand looked a lot like one of digital trespass anyways. That is, the guy was using equipment without permission. Not exactly what is under discussion here, is it? Bruce Schneier has given permission for anyone to use his WiFi. Bruce, you still forgot to mention something important -- a lot of people read and send mails in the open, and also send their passwords so, either because the providers don't support "advanced features" or because it's the easiest way to configure the clients.
Even some web mail clients send the passwords in the open, and even more the content in the open. If those people never use their computers at airports etc, only by following your current advice they give their passwords and e-mail communication to everybody in the neiogbourhood -- and until now they were much safer!
At one point or another you have stood and offered "Opinion" in procedings where you would have had to be recognised as an "Expert Witness" legaly. You have even bloged a case where a man was deamed? From what information was made available at the time this appeared to be the sole criteria under which he was convicted. The above story is about unauthorized access; Bruce Schneier and others are granting access to all comers. Can you perceive a difference? A friend at work does run an open network, but it's a separate WAP and router and does not allow access to his private network. The notion that configuring a WiFi AP to be secure is too inconvenient for a bunch of computer security people is laughable to me.
Really, how hard is it to login to a secure network? I'm glad my bank doesn't use this logic! My network is open to all my guests - they just have to have the WPA password. A moment of inconvenience the first time they set it up allows them access for all future visits. And meanwhile, I don't need to worry about my neighbor siphoning off bandwidth, downloading child porn or doing other questionable activities via my IP address. I run the wifi at home wide open for very similar reasons. I do put the wifi outside my firewall so that anyone on the wifi has the same access to my home network as anyone else on the net.
Yves Moreau, U. I wanted to make the following suggestion. The potential annoyances of someone abusing your open Wi-Fi connection are real, but the ability to use a random Wi-Fi connection to surf or check email is highly appealing although it is the last thing service providers want. I think that someone should develop software for a Wi-Fi "sidewalk".
By this I mean that our Wi-Fi software should allow users to access an open version of the Wi-Fi connection while the owner uses a private version of the connection. The open version would have a number of limitations like limited bandwith, lower priority vs. It would be like having a sidewalk along your property. You do not get to go through my backyard, but you are welcome to pass along the sidewalk.
I agree with LAL. I don't think I'm being inhospitable if I secure my network. The SSID is broadcast and has my name on it so it's clear to everyone who belongs in my neighborhood that it's mine. If someone in the neighborhood, or a guest, wants to access it, they ask me, I give them the password, and they access it.
What's the big deal? I figure I already have that covered, so why not add a little bit of protection from unauthorized access? No doubt the wireless NIC have lower power emission than placing a cell phone next to the ear, but I am not so sure about the access points. This is one issue both my spouse and I agree on, so no wireless it is.
A secondary reason is that by using wired connection, the kids have to access the internet only where the computers are - in the living room in open view of everyone. Primitive shoulder-surfing security, but we much prefer that. However, I do agree with Bruce on the point that if I have guest visiting, they are free to connect their laptop to my switch. Two points: 1 - Once your name and the words "Child Pornography" are associated, it matters little that you're not guilty.
You will always be suspect in your family's, employer's, friend's and neighbor's eyes. Damage done. Why risk it? However, don't expect that because you keep an open AP means you can just jump on any other open AP. Using someone else's private AP and Internet connection is illegal. Your open AP doesn't cancel out your illegal actions. Find a public hotspot. If it's free, bonus. If not, pony up a little cash. Bruce's logic is totally off on this.
It is clear that keeping your network open adds risk, even if Bruce's assessment of the risk is low.
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Since there is no upside, don't do it. I think Bruce supports open networks for political, rather than technical reasons. Bruce would like to see the erosion of copyrights and other IP, as seen from his opposition to DRM and other countermeasures; obviously a society where all wifi is open would make the IP holder's life harder. Nice, but I don't support this view and I would not risk my network or even bandwidth and some ISPs would get upset if you consume inordinate amount to further a political goal I oppose.
Sorry Bruce, no go.
The Finder will refresh after you hit the Return key, which causes Finder to quit and relaunch itself for the changes to take effect, thus revealing hidden files on the Mac. Examples of how hidden files show up in the Finder are shown below. This setting stays in place until it has been reversed or disabled, which would cause all files to become hidden again just as the default. Remember the Finder must relaunch to show hidden files and folders, they will appear as slightly translucent icons alongside the normal icons.
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Then the command to kill and relaunch Finder on Mac, which is where the invisible files will now be shown:. Note that refreshing Finder is always necessary. That casing is important, however, which is why you must enter exact syntax. To hide files that are intended to be hidden again, thus going back to the default Mac settings of keeping them invisible, you can just type the following defaults command. Hit return, and again the command will set the file visibility change and relaunch Finder so that it can relaunch for changes to take effect.
You will instantly see the change as once-hidden files are revealed. That command sequence can be used to toggle back or forth, thereby revealing and hiding the files again as needed. For many users, this keystroke is the most appropriate use for when an invisible file must be modified but there is no need to make them all visible all the time. Another way to quickly see hidden files in OS X is by using the ls command within the Terminal, at the command line type the following:.
The -a flag tells the ls list command to show all contents, including hidden files. You then just have to specify a directory if you want to see the hidden files in it:. This trick can also be used to open hidden directories into the Finder, for example with the following syntax:.
Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:. If you use the Go To Folder command in the Finder you can easily get there. Using Terminal to show hidden files on Mac killed me every time. Open Script Editor, paste to the window the following instructions:.
That is probably the single easier way to completely compromise the security of your entire system. What are you even talking about? This is showing how to display hidden files by using defaults commands. All defaults commands are part of OS X system modification, they are not third party and there is no requirements to use any third party anything to make hidden files visible on a Mac. Have to click in and our of folders.
Not reliable. Works well in list view though. Great tip! Used OSX for years without knowing that shortcut…. I have a question… I saw a. That is great. Thank you. Am on a macbook running OS X Type Command-S to save the edit. Any of you guys want to keep that particular folder or file at hand, after having hidden files again, without having to do the whole Terminal thing? Drop the folder or file onto the sidebar of your Finder window. Now, you should be able to access it, directly and easily, in the future. Thanks a ton! Need to turn it on an off?
So using a plain text editor create two simple files with the commands to turn on and off. Make them executable with chmod thru Terminal. Sooo simple! Now I do and I did in a few seconds. Old ancient news you say, for whom? Those who have known for a while? For newbies it is News. Of course, is really a light, though handy method which sometimes appropriate details to get information and even version too. Then again, a 2nd charm is known to fill out all of those other house.
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