Feeds

EFF wants you to open your Wi-Fi to IMPROVE privacy

'It wasn't me officer, it was that drifter on my access point!'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) wants internet users to go back to the turn of the century and open their wireless networks for anyone to connect, in order to enhance privacy.

The EFF wants us all to use the OpenWireless initiative's free router firmware, which allows users to create open guest networks that anyone in range can use.

the firmware would separate the private network from the public and limit freeloader bandwidth to about five percent of a subscriber's allocation.

"EFF is currently working on router technology that supports open wireless in an elegant and secure fashion," the group wrote.

"We're working with a coalition of volunteer engineers to build technologies that will let users open their wireless networks without compromising their security or sacrificing bandwidth.

"And we are working to debunk myths (and confront truths) about open wireless while creating technologies and legal precedent to ensure it is safe, private, and legal to open your network."

The EFF sees the proliferation of segmented open wireless networks as a key tactic that will foil intelligence agencies' ability to track individuals. By opening home and business wireless to all, it became more difficult to tie people to their online activity.

The openwireless.org software will be released at the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference next month for an as yet unnamed cheap router. Support for other versions will be added in the future.

Provided the software is sufficiently secure, the obvious outstanding threat would be to the open wireless users who could find themselves blamed for online crimes committed by anonymous users of their network.

To this end the EFF will update the openwireless.org software so that connecting guests must sign off on a repeat infringers' policy.

This however may be little relief in the event black hat hacking or downloading of copyright or illegal material is committed over the open network.

Tor open relay operators faced similar problems by providing their networks as a conduit for reams of anonymous traffic to leave Tor and hit the public internet.

Users could hand police a letter which explained how online crime could be a by-product of their Tor open relay, but this has not proven to be a watertight method to escape prosecution.

It may also be possible for participating network operators to steal guests' traffic or for attackers to simply change their wireless SSID to masquerade under the openwireless.org moniker while slurping social network or banking credentials.

The open network push is the latest in moves by telecommunications providers to provide branded routers to customers that would make hot spots available to all paying users within range.

Comcast offers the Xfinity service in the US while Australia's Telstra will soon deploy routers in partnership with Fon to establish a nationwide wifi network by 2019. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.