Feeds

Wi-Fi security befuddles clueless home users

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Two out of five UK home users don't have a clue about how to change the security settings of their home wireless network.

The 21st century equivalent of a failure in understanding how to program home video recorders was exposed in a survey commissioned by privacy watchdogs at the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

The online survey of around 2,000 British adults, carried out by YouGov earlier this month, also found that 16 per cent of users were unable to say whether or not they were running security on their home Wi-Fi network.

The commissioner's office then advised the public to make sure they had switched on passwords to protect their home Wi-Fi networks.

The ICO is calling for ISPs and equipment manufacturers to provide clearer instructions on how to make home wireless systems more secure, alongside clear arguments on why running insecure connections open up people to privacy and potentially legal liability risks.

In the meantime, the ICO has published its own guidance on security home networks. This is after the privacy watchdog realised it had no existing guidelines on password-protecting Wi-Fi networks.*

While welcoming the survey, one leading home wireless equipment manufacturer said that security settings may have been too complicated in the past but have reached the point of being more or less idiot-proof.   Chris Davies, general manager for D-Link UK & Ireland argued that security settings on home networking kit have simplified over the years towards the point where there's no real excuse for getting it wrong.

"There is no doubt that in the past setting up security on wireless networks could be tricky, but this is no longer the case with most wireless products," Davies said.

Security on home wireless kit from the likes of D-Link and Linksys can be set up in a matter of minutes, using built-in software wizards. No prior technical knowledge is required.

D-Link is co-operating with internet service providers in a bid to make sure that security settings come pre-configured on equipment, thereby making it as easy as possible for even the technically inexperienced to set up home networks. "Most modern routers today also have WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Set-up) buttons where wireless security is set up at the touch of a button," Davies added. ®

Bootnote

The ICO did clear Google's mass collection of unsecured UK Wi-Fi data and Mac addresses by its fleet of Street View cars. Just three months later, after lengthy criticism, the ICO changed its mind and decided Google had breached the Data Protection Act – after which the watchdog got Google to sign a piece of paper promising not to break data laws again.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.