Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

1/17/2008
07:00 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Don't Do As Bruce Does

I'm talking about encryption and security expert, speaker, book author, and restaurant critic Bruce Schneier. Don't follow his security advice. At least when it comes to securing home wireless networks.

I'm talking about encryption and security expert, speaker, book author, and restaurant critic Bruce Schneier. Don't follow his security advice. At least when it comes to securing home wireless networks.You see, when it comes to his personal wireless network, he doesn't secure it. No encryption. No password. Nothing. Fact is, for a while now, Schneier has been expounding the fact that he runs his personal wireless network sans crypto. Not only can anyone driving by decide to read and capture all of his wireless traffic, they can also use his connection for some free Internet access -- if needed. To Schneier it's a matter of being neighborly:

"To me, it's basic politeness. Providing Internet access to guests is kind of like providing heat and electricity, or a hot cup of tea. But to some observers, it's both wrong and dangerous," he wrote in his blog.

Put me firmly in camp dangerous, if not camp reckless. I don't think his choice is wrong, at least not in a moral or ethical sense. Actually, if you read Schneier's blog, you'll see that he's well aware of the risks and has dismissed them as minimal. Security is about managing risk to the level you're comfortable. I agree with him on that.

If you live on a mountaintop, and there's no one around, there's no sense in encrypting your traffic from being snooped on by the nest of eagles. Same is true if you live in a congested city and just don't care.

Schneier dismisses the risks of someone hijacking his network to commit crime, and his likelihood of being held culpable, to be minimal. He's also not worried about someone using his connection to download illegal music files.

I think those risks are real enough to defend yourself against. Anyone with middle school networking skills could jump on an unsecured wireless network and capture your passwords, user names, account numbers. They can use your network address as an anonymous (for them) way to commit any crime they wish. When the police are called out, they're going to knock on the door of the ISP account holder. Which, even if innocence can be proved, could prove costly.

And while, just a couple of years ago, WEP was annoying and lacked good security, the same isn't true for WPA. It's a good protocol that offers a high level of security. And while I'm certain it could be broken by a motivated attacker, most criminals would choose to move on when they see the hardened network. And whose network will they choose to infiltrate?

Bruce's. And they'll do so simply because it's not encrypted. Because that network is the path of least resistance.

So, Bruce: Turn on WPA.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 10/27/2020
6 Ways Passwords Fail Basic Security Tests
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  10/28/2020
'Act of War' Clause Could Nix Cyber Insurance Payouts
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  10/29/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How to Measure and Reduce Cybersecurity Risk in Your Organization
In this Tech Digest, we examine the difficult practice of measuring cyber-risk that has long been an elusive target for enterprises. Download it today!
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-27652
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-29
Algorithm downgrade vulnerability in QuickConnect in Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) before 6.2.3-25426-2 allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof servers and obtain sensitive information via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2020-27653
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-29
Algorithm downgrade vulnerability in QuickConnect in Synology Router Manager (SRM) before 1.2.4-8081 allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof servers and obtain sensitive information via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2020-27654
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-29
Improper access control vulnerability in lbd in Synology Router Manager (SRM) before 1.2.4-8081 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via port (1) 7786/tcp or (2) 7787/tcp.
CVE-2020-27655
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-29
Improper access control vulnerability in Synology Router Manager (SRM) before 1.2.4-8081 allows remote attackers to access restricted resources via inbound QuickConnect traffic.
CVE-2020-27656
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-29
Cleartext transmission of sensitive information vulnerability in DDNS in Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) before 6.2.3-25426-2 allows man-in-the-middle attackers to eavesdrop authentication information of DNSExit via unspecified vectors.