Overhype

by Mike Masnick




Pushing Back On Fear Mongering Reports About Open WiFi Networks

from the about-time dept

We've covered so many fear mongering reports about how dangerous open WiFi networks are, it's quite amazing to see a press article that quotes security researchers pushing back on the latest fear mongering report. As Bruce Schneier notes in the article, it's not the open network that's the issue, but the devices on the network. If the devices are secured, it can be quite safe to use an open network or leave your network open. It seems like there's just a kneejerk reaction against the idea of open WiFi these days. While there may be some risk in getting falsely accused if someone misuses your WiFi, we've yet to hear of any such case where it took very long for the innocence of the network owner to be established.

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  1. icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), 29 Jun 2006 @ 7:40am

    Insurance on WIFI

    "im just waiting for the day the government requires you to have internet insurance, to pay for the "damage" you cause by using wifi hot spots. "
    -Daryl Licked

    "User insurance
    Possibly the worst idea of all. Insurance would lower security standards even further by shifting responsibilty. We need to encourage people to take more responsibility not less. Besides it cannot be applied in the same way that auto insurance or home insurance pertains to fixed assets and events. Things are already very fluid on the network, IP6 and mesh WiFi are only going to make it more so. Blame game antics will quickly get out of hand when your IP6 drinks fridge in your car decides to call home to the wrong address and does a drive by DOS on the local fire stations VOIP. Companies cannot handle the complexity of the claims or afford to hire experts in the same relatively simple and sensible way that culpability in an RTA or storm damage to a house can be decided."
    -I, for one


    Actually, guys, it's already here. It's called "liability insurance" which is usually automatically part of your Homeowners or Renters insurance. While there's nothing specifically stated in the policy that says "WIFI is covered", there doesn't need to be. Liability insurance is on an "all risk" basis, which means that it's covered unless it's specifically excluded.

    While your insurance won't pay for lost data or damage caused to you by these evil Hakkor Hordes, it will pay if someone sues you because someone else damages them through your WIFI. It will also pay if someone sues you claiming that you damaged them at Starbucks' hotspot or wherever.

    Also, Starbucks et al... Their insurance will cover if someone does naughty things with that free hotspot and someone sues Starbucks for it. So if Johnny Jack-in hacks someone while sitting at Starbucks, and that someone sues Starbucks for "providing the opportunity to commit the crime", Starbucks' insurance will pay the defense costs. And if Starbucks somehow loses, the insurance will pay that too.

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