WiFi access point security password etiquette.

Now that more and more people are carrying devices capable of browsing the Internet via wifi, your chances of being called upon to share your wifi access point have gone way up. Alright, maybe the only thing that’s gone up is the number of people in your home who wish they had access to the Internet via your wifi router, but are afraid to ask for your password.  They’re afraid to ask because they don’t want to put you on the spot, fearing that our Wifi password may not be the simple low tech unique password it ought to be.

How passwords are hacked or stolen varies based on what the password is for. Website passwords can be hacked  from a computer most anywhere. Those passwords  should not be a word found in the dictionary, they should include a mixture of upper and lower case letters and numbers. Best practice is to vary these passwords by sites. That way if you’re password is compromised at one site other sites are not left vulnerable. To gain access to your account on a password protected site, hackers use computer programs that can automate the process for them. Often referred to as the brute force method its basically the same as someone trying your pets name or your kids names or your birthdate in different combinations until they get in.

Wifi access is different from web site security in that to gain access to your network your attacker needs to be close enough to your router to attempt to gain access to it.  In a neighborhood it may be obvious that there’s a car parked nearby with someone who doesn’t belong. But if you live in an apartment or condo there may be people trying to access your network at their leisure. If you fear this maybe the case you may choose to change your router password once a month or so. Not using a simple common word your pets name, street name or other obvious piece of information is a good idea. Wifi access is very low fruit for those wishing access to something they shouldn’t have access to. Email, banking and shopping sites are far, far more valuable. So much more valuable that the idea of someone working hard to gain access to your network is a relatively low risk.

So I propose wifi passwords should be secure enough to keep your neighbors off your network, but friendly and simple enough to share with visiting friends or family. They should be different than all your other passwords. They can be a phrase “theflowersarepretty” “onein1million” or a number and name “2354schwartz” The idea is it should be different than your important passwords easy to share, easy to remember and  easy to change.

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2 Responses to “Wifi passwords should be easily shared.”

  1. Casey says:

    If you’re concerned about this stuff, the answer is easy! All you need is 3 routers configured in a Y formation. One main wired router that goes to your internet. Off of that, you hardwire 2 wireless routers, each creating their own networks. One of these is “your” network, with a strong password that only you or your family know. The other is the “visitor” network with a stupid, simple password that you can give to your visiting friends or your neighbors or whatever. The main router keeps everything separated so that no one snooping the dumb network sees any of the traffic on the smart network. See? Easy!! :) (I think I remember reading somewhere that the Apple Airport Extreme can be configured to do this all on it’s own… maybe).

    Oh, Hi Doug!

    /casey

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