Posts Tagged ‘wifi security’

Secure WiFi is a MUST for Hotels & Multifamily Properties

November 29, 2012

On November 25, 2012 The Wall Street Journal published an article (referenced below) speaking of how police were able to find a man suspected of downloading child pornography  because he was using an unsecured network.  Ultimately,  part of the decision written by Judge Conti stated  “An internet subscriber does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his IP address or the information he provides to his Internet Service Provider, such as Comcast, in order to legally establish an internet connection, and likewise , a person connecting to another person’s wireless router does not have an expectation of privacy in that connection”.

A main technological concern for multifamily properties and hotel owners needs to be the security of their WiFi network.  When a property provides WiFi they become an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and are thus responsible for the Internet they provider.  Multifamily properties and hotels can lessen the burden by using a managed, secure and CALEA compliant WiFi provider to handle their network for them.

The WSJ article quotes numbers from a 2011 poll conducted by Wakefield Research and the trade association Wi-Fi Alliance that “32% of respondents said they had tried to get on a wireless nework that wasn’t theirs”.   Apartment buildings, shops, hotels, private homes, offices, etc. etc. are operating unsecured networks and leaving their residents, guests and patrons vulnerable to hacking and identity theft.  It is critical, now more than ever, that residential properties, hotels and business provide secure Wi-Fi at their locations.  It is equally important that Wi-Fi network users are aware of the type of network that they are on, whether secured or unsecured, and the level of privacy and security that the network provides.

Hotels and multifamily properties can opt to provide their buildlings with a UserSafe™ WiFi network as opposed to an “open” network.  A UserSafe™ network guards users from hacking and identity theft, ensures privacy and is CALEA compliant.  CALEA compliance takes the WiFi network responsibility from the property by incorporating a full network management aspect.

Wall Street Journal Article:


German Wi-Fi laws similar to CALEA in U.S.

May 18, 2010

I just read Glenn Fleishman’s article on a recent ruling by the German court, Bundesgerichsthof (the highest civil & criminal court).  Aparently, back in 2006, a user downloaded a song, illegally, from a 3rd party operated Wi-Fi Hotspot and the case has been in the courts ever since.  Of course, this is illegal copyright infringement.  That begs the question, who exactly is responsible: the 3rd party doing the illegal downloading or the owner of the unsecured Wi-Fi network on which the downloading has taken place?  Interesting, huh?  Many would be quick to say “well, obviously the person doing the illegal Wi-Fi downloading is the only one who is liable – they are the ones committing the crime”. While that is partially true – it’s not entirely true (in Germany or the U.S., for that matter – the latter of which I will get to below).  In the recent ruling by the Bundesgerichsthof German Wi-Fi network owners are required to protect their Wi-Fi networks or face a small fine.  Now the encryption doesn’t have to be fancy, because as Fleishman said in his article: “even WEP, though it’s easily broken, would qualify because then the third party would have to break into the network (a fairly severe crime in Germany since 2007), making the access point’s owner not liable.”

We haven’t addressed CALEA in awhile – so here it goes: How does this bring about the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA)?  Well, for starters, many Wi-Fi Hotspot operators are not aware of their government responsibility when operating a Wi-Fi hotspot.  Simply, and for the technologically faint-of-heart, the CALEA act requires that goverment agencies have access to tapping your phone (*yikes*, right?). Well, enter the digital age. In 2004, those agencies began to realize that traditional phone tapping methods were more difficult, expensive and sometimes not even possible with digital communications. In 2005, the government began to include “communications that pass over the internet” as subject to tapping  (Don’t worry, this IS going somewhere).  So if someone is utilizing your Wi-Fi network for illegal activity OR the FBI needs to obtain information on that individual – guess who has the responsibility of getting that information for the FBI?  The Wi-Fi Network operator.  That’s right.

Many Wi-Fi network operators are not aware of this fact, they do not even know what CALEA Compliance is, or that it applies to a Wi-Fi Network.  Many would state “if someone is doing something illegal on my network – that is their faulty” – which is true, but it is also the responsibility of the network operator to be able to provide information about that 3rd party.  Interesting, isn’t it.  At Spot On Networks, we are fully CALEA compliant – that is to say, we operate your network and are in fully compliance with the government’s standards for being able to provide them with any information that they may need, if that instance were to arise.  Our networks are fully secure and we would stress that it is of utmost importance that a Wi-Fi network operator (especially one that is currently deploying their own unsecured network in a building, hotel, cafe, etc) be aware what CALEA is and what their Wi-Fi network responsibilities are.

WiFi to 4G Roaming Technology

May 14, 2010

WiFi News out of Sweden.  Technology startup, Anyfi offers technology to increase the security of mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots.

Press Release courtesy of:

Lund, Sweden – Swedish startup Anyfi Networks today came out of stealth mode to present, a Wi-Fi roaming technology they hope will shake up the mobile broadband industry. This new technology lets an Internet service provider offer the same Wi-Fi user experience both at home and on the go.

“Until now Wi-Fi hotspots have been difficult to use and inherently insecure. Our solution works with any Wi-Fi device out of the box and provides fully automatic WPA security” said Björn Smedman, CEO.

The trick is combining Wi-Fi with IP, Internet Protocol, to break the tie between logical network and physical infrastructure, much in the same way as Voice over IP separates your phone service from the physical line.

“You can think of it as Wi-Fi over IP” explained Björn Smedman. “Our cloud based matchmaking service keeps track of each device’s favorite network and makes sure it is available from the closest access point. By forwarding the raw Wi-Fi radio traffic over the Internet we can ensure security, even if an attacker is in control of the access point.”

According to the company this high level of security is one of the key features making the technology suitable for integration in modems of various types, and this is what makes it potentially disruptive, effectively turning Wi-Fi into a full-blown 4G technology.

“Today only about 1-2% of residential broadband capacity is actually used. The rest just goes to waste. At the same time we are seeing mobile networks brought to their knees under the load of data-hungry devices like the iPhone. If you can guarantee that there is no negative impact whatsoever to the subscriber, why not use some of that spare capacity to offload mobile?” asked Björn Smedman.

Using this reasoning a broadband connection with a Wi-Fi router at the end can be thought of as a building block of sorts and is the mortar. By combining them, existing infrastructure can be transformed into a radio access network, license-exempt and Wi-Fi compatible. A fixed-line operator with a high density of broadband subscribers in an urban area could become a mobile operator over night by simply upgrading the modem software, something that can be done remotely. But smaller operators could also join together to collectively provide mobile Internet access, with worldwide roaming.