Bruce Schneider is to internet security what Chuck Norris is to fighting toughness. In his latest piece for Wired Magazine, Steal This Wi-Fi he comes up with some good points for running an open access point. I do and have done for a long time. Things are pretty locked down but you can get internet access on most ports and your traffic will be nicely prioritised. Prioritised behind my spare outbound bandwidth that is. But if you want more then pony up for your own connection.
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. I’m told that uninvited strangers may sit in their cars in front of my house, and use my network to send spam, eavesdrop on my passwords, and upload and download everything from pirated movies to child pornography. As a result, I risk all sorts of bad things happening to me, from seeing my IP address blacklisted to having the police crash through my door.
While this is technically true, I don’t think it’s much of a risk. I can count five open wireless networks in coffee shops within a mile of my house, and any potential spammer is far more likely to sit in a warm room with a cup of coffee and a scone than in a cold car outside my house. And yes, if someone did commit a crime using my network the police might visit, but what better defense is there than the fact that I have an open wireless network? If I enabled wireless security on my network and someone hacked it, I would have a far harder time proving my innocence.
More on Wired. And more Chuck Norris facts like
If you have five dollars and Chuck Norris has five dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you.
There is no ‘ctrl’ button on Chuck Norris’s computer. Chuck Norris is always in control.
Apple pays Chuck Norris 99 cents every time he listens to a song.
Chuck Norris can sneeze with his eyes open.
Chuck Norris can eat just one Lay’s potato chip.
Chuck Norris is suing Myspace for taking the name of what he calls everything around you.
Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.
Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.