Forwarding Address: OS X

Thursday, August 15, 2002

"If you are turning on WEP (which anyone with any sense does)..."

Erm, I beg to differ, Paul. I leave WEP off on all four of my access points, for a number of reasons:

  • Having no WEP makes it easier and faster for you to connect to your network
  • WEP doesn't provide any security from malefactors, who have ready access to tools that can trivially derive even 128-bit WEP keys, using well-understood exploits
  • Protocol security (i.e., ssh, scp and ssl) are good data hygeine in general. I connect to lots of networks (as, I suspect, do many wireless users) -- hotels, cafes, etc. Anyone not employing these measures should assume that his data is being sniffed on the wire
  • Leaving WEP off facilitates the use of your networks by both friends and strangers. If you pick an ISP that allows you to share your connection, you can legally contribute to a climate of cooperativism and you can do a mitzvah for your neighbors and for your community
  • Providing anonymous access to the Internet upholds the First Amendment right to anonymous speech; a tradition that benefits many citizens of a thriving democracy, such as whistle-blowers, dissidents, and embarrassed teens who want to research VD
  • Providing access to the Internet via a wireless access point arguably makes your into an ISP for the purposes of the safe-harbor provisions in the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which means that you don't carry liability for threats, pr0n, infringement, etc, trasnmitted through your AP. You'll be in the same safe-harbor that protects libraries, Internet cafes, Internet kiosks, smart payphones, and other anonymous access points.