Re-encrypting WiFi

Unfortunately, I had to shut down my open wireless network experiment. That is because I found three people within the span of two days who were both (a) criminal and (b) very stupid.

One thing to remember: if you are going to use open wireless networks to download illegal things, make sure you aren’t sharing your entire hard drive in read/write mode. Not only will the person running the network get wise to you without even needing to sniff packets, they will be able to remotely eliminate your ill-gotten files before banning you from the network. If they were so inclined, they could do much worse things to you.

I suppose I could set up a captive portal system using something like ZoneCD – thus providing scope for well behaved neighbours and passers by to use the network. That would, however, require acquiring and setting up a computer between my DSL modem and WAP. Since the two are presently integrated, the expense and bother would be even greater.

As is so always the case, a few bad apples have made it necessary to discontinue a good thing.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

13 thoughts on “Re-encrypting WiFi”

  1. Not surprised. Open networks, like any public space, must be regulated in some fashion to detect and prevent abuse. If you don’t do it on your end then someone upstream will be watching traffic registered under your identity and come to you for an explanation.

  2. You joke, surely.

    You would never leave such videos in a place where some random buffoon could elimate them.

  3. Please. The “Random Buffoon that I Live With

    (I need those videos back. For reasons that are neither illegal, nor require me to send thousands of dollars in recompense to the Puerto Rican mob.)

  4. I need those videos back.

    The videos can probably still be recovered from your hard drive, provided they haven’t been overwritten. I don’t know of a way to do a multi-pass-type secure wipe on a shared drive, so all I could do was remove the flags indicating those blocks of data were important to keep.

    See: Data remanence, Data recovery, Zeroisation.

  5. Someone who really wanted to eliminate the files would probably have copied a hard drive wiping virus onto your system, then set it up to execute automatically when you rebooted.

  6. You could call your network something like: “Call XYZ number for access.” That would let you screen potential users, to some degree.

  7. WPA cracked in 15 minutes or less, or your next router’s free

    They always knew it could be done; that a hacker with enough time and processing power could watch your WPA-protected wireless network and, eventually, decrypt your precious datas. In under 15 minutes, though? “Inconceivable!” those hypothetical security experts would say — but they’re about to get a lesson from WiFi wizard Erik Tews. He’ll be giving a presentation next week at the PacSec Conference in Tokyo, describing the “mathematical breakthrough” that, he says, enables him to crack WPA-TKIP in 12 to 15 minutes.

  8. The three stories all fall along the same theme: a Buffalo man, Sarasota man, and Syracuse man all found themselves being raided by the FBI or police after their wireless networks were allegedly used to download child pornography. “You’re a creep… just admit it,” one FBI agent was quoted saying to the accused party. In all three cases, the accused ended up getting off the hook after their files were examined and neighbors were found to be responsible for downloading child porn via unsecured WiFi networks.

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