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oldsport

Wifi Security Question.

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I'm coming under increasing pressure from relatives to give my WPA Wifi network password to their children for use on their Iphones etc. Apparently, when they visit they can't go two hours or so without using their mobile devices. I think they could connect through 3G but this can be expensive.

They have access to two, fast desktop PCs with big screens when they are here and they are free to do whatever they want on those.

I don't pretend to understand WiFi security. But when I first set it up I read a lot that you need to keep the password secure as this provides the main element of the security. So my first instinct was that it isn't a good idea to give it out to children.

But then I got to thinking about how WiFi hot spots work and WiFi at hotels and whether they are secure. And I realised i don't understand any of this! So any advice would be much appreciated.

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Do you trust the children themselves not to abuse it? Bear in mind, any restriction you place on them could become an invitation or challenge to hack around it, if they're that way inclined.

As for hotels/etc, those who care much about only being used by bona fide guests may resort to measures like frequent changes of password. Those who want to charge for it resort to nastier measures like walled gardens, but that's a separate issue to securing your wifi.

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Don't be such a bore and give them the password.

If you're seriously concerned about security just regularly change it.

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Just give them the password, dont worry about security the media just make up scare stories, i started to give my password about a year ago with no problems at all.

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Them having used your wifi password is not a big deal. If someone wants to hack your wifi they'd do it directly I reckon.

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Could you enter the password in their devices? Their devices will presumably remember the password, allowing them to access your wifi whenever they're around, but without them ever having known the password.

Does this help?

Alternatively, tell them that you felt lucky as a child to be able to sit in the gutter and poke at things with a dirty stick, so get over it.

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Could you enter the password in their devices? Their devices will presumably remember the password, allowing them to access your wifi whenever they're around, but without them ever having known the password.

Does this help?

Alternatively, tell them that you felt lucky as a child to be able to sit in the gutter and poke at things with a dirty stick, so get over it.

Wot he said.

You could also limit access to your wireless router by MAC address and simply type the MACs of all allowed devices including your pcs and smartphones into your router.

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Wot he said.

You could also limit access to your wireless router by MAC address and simply type the MACs of all allowed devices including your pcs and smartphones into your router.

If you've got a rooted android device, as I have, you can easily find the stored wifi access passwords. So tapping the password in yourself isn't secure. Restriction by MAC address is secure, but seems a bit over the top to me.

I can't see any big deal in giving visitors have your wifi password, assuming you have the unlimited broadband access that is the norm nowadays. Indeed, I'd consider it impolite not to! Visitors will want to use their own devices because that's where all their favourite/useful apps are stored. If you suspect that someone is abusing your wifi connection, you can always change the password.

On the other hand, you should never give out your router admin password!

Edit: Riedquat does, of course, make a good point, but you might find that the frequency of their visits starts to tail off if you insist on refusing the kids internet access at your house.

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Give them the password but block certain sites through your router like Facebook etc and then pretend you don't know why it's not loading up. They will soon get bored. Or charge them by the megabyte.

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"I can't remember what it is. How about a nice book. It's like a printed copy of the internet,"

:lol:

Here, tiddlywinks!

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I get the impression nowadays that to refuse wifi access to any guest is a bit like saying they can't use your loo. We certainly dish ours out to any guest.

As regards kids who can't do without, though... Not long ago we were at a rare family do - rare since family very scattered - where for most of the time the only 4 children present, ages about 6 to 14 - were sitting in a row on a sofa, all glued to phone or tablet.

My 30s daughter who was newly pregnant at the time (though sadly it was not to be) hiss-whispered to me through her nice party smile, 'I will not allow it!'

I didn't bother telling her that a good many of us have very firm ideas about what we will or will not allow our kids to do - before we ever have any.

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I book places for holidays that don;t have wifi - forces people to get off their damn Ipads.

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Wot he said.

You could also limit access to your wireless router by MAC address and simply type the MACs of all allowed devices including your pcs and smartphones into your router.

buy a Cisco group wireless router and set up all the security you like, along with preshared encryption so a hacker cant read your wireless code..

or just give them the code...and if you are worried, change it when they are gone.

My wireless has a whole list of computers that can use it...the thing is, no-one can re read the code on their computer or phone...so unless they are really good at remembering, they wont be able to pass it on.

Also, share no files on your network...even a hacked network cant release unshared files.

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Edit: Riedquat does, of course, make a good point, but you might find that the frequency of their visits starts to tail off if you insist on refusing the kids internet access at your house.

So fewer kids around the place? Another good reason to withold it! Anyway, I mostly said it as part of my anti-mobile phone vendetta.

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Your router doesn't have a guest network? Mine has 4 possible networks - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz plus a guest 2.4 and 5Ghz. I can allow visitors to have the guest network password only, thus never have to give out my own password. You can also enable or disable these networks individually.

Also, only newer devices (and not even all of them) can use the 5Ghz so if they've got an older device you could just disable the 2.4Ghz networks and claim that your router is the latest tech and won't work with obsolete devices, thus both inconveniencing them and bruising their egos and provoking envy the same time.

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Tell them that you use dial up but they are welcome to log into your 56k modem

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/56_kbit/s_modem

You can even wax lyrical about the noise it makes while connecting

Alternatively give them a map directing them to a library or other free wifi spot

Presumably your relatives are too cheapskate to buy their kids 3G or 4G contracts so they let them freeload on you instead

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Tell them that you use dial up but they are welcome to log into your 56k modem

It'll use up the couple of hours trying to connect to the modem before you hand them the cable (and then finding a serial port on an iPhone might be a bit of a problem).

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Tell them that you use dial up but they are welcome to log into your 56k modem

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/56_kbit/s_modem

You can even wax lyrical about the noise it makes while connecting

Alternatively give them a map directing them to a library or other free wifi spot

Presumably your relatives are too cheapskate to buy their kids 3G or 4G contracts so they let them freeload on you instead

My brother and his family scored a 'full house' a couple of weeks ago. They popped round and at one point he, his wife and their kids were all simultaneously twanging away on their phones and tablets.

Still, it was nice of them to visit.

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OP here.

Thanks for all the answers.

The advice seems to be give it out. So, I'm sure I'll end up doing that once I've thought about it a bit more.

It's going to be a wrench though. My network is very simple and essentially the same as ten years ago. Back then the advice in everything I read online was consistent i.e. you must never give out your password - MAC addressing and everything else can easily be overcome and the password is the only thing that really protects you - so make your password very strong and never give it out. I even use a random generator to produce a 63 character string of gibberish for my password.

So moving from that mindset to an attitude of "give it out to anyone who visits" is making me think a lot more scientifically about the actual issues - I've got to say I'm still uneasy! - but I don't know why.

EDIT - I actually meant more like 6 or 7 years ago, rather than 10 years ago.

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the thing is, no-one can re read the code on their computer or phone

i don't think that's correct. I've seen people read other peoples passwords off their devices.

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You could also limit access to your wireless router by MAC address and simply type the MACs of all allowed devices including your pcs and smartphones into your router.

I read that it's very easy to spoof MAC addresses in order to get around that. Again, it was a long time ago!

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