back to article Wi-Fi security befuddles clueless home users

Two out of five UK home users don't have a clue about how to change the security settings of their home wireless network. The 21st century equivalent of a failure in understanding how to program home video recorders was exposed in a survey commissioned by privacy watchdogs at the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). The …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    D-Link

    "Chris Davies, general manager for D-Link UK & Ireland argued that security settings on home networking kit have simplified over the years towards the point where there's no real excuse for getting it wrong."

    Hm, Davies should meet my neighbor. He's running a shiny new D-Link 802.11n router with no security enabled. I'm enjoying using his bandwidth instead of paying for my own. And changing the admin password. And installing DD-WRT on his router.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      D-Link

      Well done - you've told the world you're a thief!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        D-Link

        ...says one AC to another.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          AC =not really anonymous

          Posting as Anonymous Coward here isn't like on Slashdot, here you need to be logged in to post anything, Slashdot only requires you to pass a CAPTCHA.

          But that doesn't stop you using freebie email addresses and VPNs/compromised PCs to try and mask your true IP.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: AC =not really anonymous

            Then the question is whether, or how quickly, does The Reg forget which AC comments were posted by which user.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              re: how quickly does The Reg forget

              I can still see my AC posts from over four years ago.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                You're not anonymous to El Reg

                Just the readers..

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      Three out of Five users

      The rest of us realize that the security offered is so bad that there's no real point in enabling it anyway.

    3. Robredz
      Linux

      Good Job I use wired then

      Threw the wireless router in the bin (recycling) as in flogged on eBay, and cat cabled the house, no worries about war drivers piggybacking then, too many wireless networks here and too few channels, data collisions and dropped connection rife.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ok, mr. nice guy.

        I, on the other hand, have 3 wireless devices. One of which I use, and two of which randomly take on the network names of my obnoxious neighbors.

      2. Bob. Hitchen
        Paris Hilton

        Right on

        Wireless sucks just like Paris.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Certified Lemons

    I have a friend who is a Microsoft Certified Support Thingy Magigy and he sent me a message yesterday: "Help...i've spent two hours setting up my wireless router and i can't get the cd to run the software."

    For which at that point I was gob smacked that he didn't realise it had a webUI.

    You can make things easy but people still can't do it. Hell some routers require you to configure them by rerouting DNS on the first run.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      MCSE == Diploma in being an IT Idiot.

      When it comes to anything that is not in the Holy Microsoft Bible (aka the MCSE texts).

      Don't even try to get one to use powershell properly. Well if you want to have a laugh then by all means.

      The OP is not alone in his thinking that an MCSE is not worth the paperless it is not written on.

      If you want to get them really scared tell them about the Cisco CNAA or the RHCE/RHCA tests.

      Paris because she loves a good cry when things go wrong

      1. jason 7
        FAIL

        CCNA...Ha!

        Was speaking to a mate who just passed his CCNA a few weeks ago. I mentioned NAS boxes.

        He looked at me bemused.

        Didnt have a clue what a NAS box was.

        Good to know these folks havent got a clue as to what might actually be connected to their network.

        1. Chris 211

          jason 7 CCNA...Ha!

          So your expecting a network guy to know about servers? I'd expect a network guy to know what it is; but how to configure/install then no. Just like I know server guys know F%^K all about networking.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Security Settings, puh!

    My Wifi is wide-screaming, help-yourself open.

    When you have about 50+ wifi-enabled gadgets, it's just simpler that way.

    The first ring of security is living in the forest on several acres of land. The second ring of security is that I couldn't care less.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ooo look at me

      Wow. Lucky you.

      But I bet my willy is bigger than yours.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      living in the forest

      where the loony survivalists are plotting the overthrow of the state, and happy to have use of your connection.

  4. Borgcubed

    2 out of 5.. that high?

    I'm surprised it's as many as 2 out of 5. At least most ISPs are now spoon feeding people by coming with all their security settings pre-installed and set up. All people need to do is enter a key in and away they go.

    The problem in doing this is that the customer doesn't learn anything, they don't know why they have to connect with a secure key and they wouldn't know how to replace their own router should it fail.

    I'd rather have ignorant customers with a secure wi-fi connection than someone who thinks they know what they are doing but have it set up incorrectly.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      And people don't know how to fix a car.

      The point is that ISPs have to spoon-feed the customers because the customers aren't interested in getting their hands dirty. Many people DON'T WANT to know the dirty details. If something like that were to break, they'd seek out the local geek-on-call, whatever he/she/they may be named. Just as they'd take a cantankerous car to the local garage. To them, the cable modem is like the phone and the TV: just make it work so I can get on with my life.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Preconfigured security

    Like the homehubs had, which people created scripts that could work out the WEP key based on the hexcode at the end of the SSID?

    I suppose at least with WPA it'll be harder to get a bunch of keys to work backwards from.

    I'm not sure that security by default is any substitute to making users learn how to work the settings in the first place. I know some people are far more tech-savvy than others, but it's really not that difficult to follow instructions.

  6. Robert Moore
    Joke

    Cheep bastard

    But if too many people secure their wireless then I might have to start paying for internet.

    Heaven forbid.

    1. Your Retarded
      Grenade

      Cheep, cheep

      That damn budgie!

  7. Elmer Phud
    Boffin

    Idiot proof?

    My BT HomeHub thingy needs me to go in as admin to turn off security - and then it asks if I'm sure, then if I'm really sure (The Mrs Doyle effect).

    My ancient wireless print hub from Belkin (hack, spit) won't let me access the wirless security part of its setup menu if I go in via ethernet and it means I'm going to have to drop the wirless security to set it up just to avoid tripping over a long USB lead.

    Sod it - I'll gaffa the cable to the floor instead.

  8. Trevor 3
    Grenade

    It might not even be

    a case of they don't know how to do it. They might not be aware that it's even an option.

    If they get a router from their ISP and it works out of the box, why would they know that they need to set up a key?

    If they see the other wireless networks have got keys on, they might not even believe that theirs can do it. Must be a different model surely?

    Lets start by teaching the users something they might not know about at all first, then we can teach them how to sort it out. One step at a time.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Security with a single button?

    Yea, they all have that button. It works the same way on every single one I have tried. That is, it doesn't.

  10. JasonW

    I like the ones...

    .... that have security set up, but you can work out the key from the SSID and on those ones the default admin passwords are never changed.

  11. nastybarsteward
    WTF?

    BT Homehub

    I have a friend that asked me to link their Toshiba Satellite Pro to their BT Homehub, as they couldn't get the 2 to talk. Try and I might I couldn't get them to talk either, and tried to link them together with every security type I could find on the box, WEP, WPA, WPA2 etc. I tried them all and nothing allowed the connection to take properly. In the end I tried with no security, and the 2 connected straight away no issues. So sometimes the user has no choice but to leave it unsecured, and maybe get a different router!

  12. bubba-bear

    Router setup software CDs suck

    I have had dismal experience with setting up new home routers using the install CD (any brand); I now just plug it in and go directly to the administration web page.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bloody blimey

      Why the hell would *anyone* have to use a damn cd to setup a fecking router anyway?

      It's counterintuitive and downright stupid.

      The sticker on the bottom of the preconfigured device is enough.

  13. Steve Evans

    A bit scaremongering...

    Although most members of the public have no idea what WEP or WPA2 are, most of these people will be using the router supplied by Sky/BT etc... Which come with security turned on and a little sticker on the bottom giving them the key. I've been to fix countless computers as various homes and asked "Do you know your wireless password?", I get the same blank look, so I just pick the router up and look on the bottom.

    The only people at risk are those with enough technical knowledge to change their router, and somehow configure their ISP connection details, but not manage the wireless, like AC 16:42's neighbour.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    wpa 1 and 2 of various types

    My wifi is secure.

    However, everytime i get roped into setting up someone's wifi security i have to check the type of WPA they are using and which fits.

    Sometimes people like BT give you a CD to install a whole load of unnecessary junk on your PC which will also set up your wifi, sometimes its a web interface accessible by an IP address usually 192.168.1.1 etc

    This is all pretty straight forward for most readers on here, but pretty scary to most ordinary users, even those who are a "whizz on excel".

    One setting, on/off plus password. That is simple.

  15. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    FAIL

    Risks?

    Privacy, yes, but what of "potentially legal liability risks"?

    As far as I know, you are not liable for others using your internet connection without your knowledge or permission, and if you are then is not the case the ISP should actually do something about it if they supplied the router in the first place?

    Also most of the 'software wizards' I have seen are crap things that often only work on a few versions of Windows. Setting up with a web browser to 192.168.1.1 should be simple, but some are crap and most ISP's lack useful technical help pages if you go down that route or find the wizard is broken. Thinking of you Tiscali...

    At the end of the day, most computer users are technically illiterate and should NOT have anything to do with setting it up. But ISPs are cheapskates who won't send someone round to put it in and do it properly.

    1. Goat Jam
      Headmaster

      Good Grief

      I can't believe that I am about to . . . . . . . stand up for ISPs

      "ISPs are cheapskates who won't send someone round to put it in and do it properly"

      ISP's are businesses and they are not going to do that for free despite what you might like to think.

      You have two choices;

      1) Charge the user for the service directly

      2) Recoup the costs indirectly by charging everyone more for their Internet service.

      Now, personally, I don't need some numbnut from an ISP to come over and mess around with my network. I also don't want to be paying via my monthly bill for all the "free" onsite support calls used by thousands and thousands of other numpties who can't configure their networks properly.

      The cheapskates here are the ignorant users, those people who don't want to invest (either time and/or money) in getting their home network working properly. If Joe Sixpack doesn't want to pay for the services that HE REQUIRES then why the hell should I pay it for him through higher bills?

  16. jdk

    Belkin seems to be doing it right

    The most recent router that I bought from them had WPA2 enabled and preset with a random SSID and password, which was printed on a tag you could slip into a slot under the router.

    1. Bob Camp

      That's only half of the problem.

      They still have to figure out how to enter that really long key in every single one of their devices. Most people simply can't figure out how do it, or they keep typing it in wrong, or there's some compatibility issue preventing it from working.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      @Belkin seems to be doing it right

      Jolly good! But not used them yet. My local shop sells the TP-LINK ones, nice boxes, but open by default. Also several recent routers I have tried allow administration over the WiFi link - a very bad idea in my view:

      (1) It allows more mischief from local ne'er-do-wells (with weak/no security), and by malicious software on the user's PC, such as changing DNS to poisoned ones, etc. Thankfully the TP-LINK models I have used have UPnP turned off by default.

      (2) If you bork it (even temporarily) you have to get an Ethernet cable hooked up anyway.

      So why not allow administration only by cable by default?

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Admin by wifi is good

        So the next time my Orange Livebox starts acting up, I can log in and reboot it from the other side of the house. Admin by cable only makes sense if your router is sat right between your computers within easy cable reach, but for some the lack of cables is a more useful setup. Then again, so is changing the default user credentials...

        1. Your Retarded
          WTF?

          Orange livebox?

          Or you could just get a router that works.

          Really, such simple tried-and-tested technology should not be crashing regularly.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            Fair point, but...

            ...I have a backup router, but sadly there seems to be a shortage of inexpensive models that support VoIP (which is necessary as the "land line phone" runs through the box).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        re: keep typing it in wrong

        Connect by Ethernet, go to router admin page, copy and paste the key. Simples.

  17. Jason Togneri
    Thumb Up

    @ Security with a single button?

    It really works 100%. That is, if the button in question is the one built in to the side of the mains socket. Let's see you hack my wireless /now/.

  18. Spanners Silver badge
    Alien

    Some people like playing

    I once came across someone who sat in his garden and reset all the unsecured WiFi names in the area to rude words.

    1. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward
      Thumb Up

      Now spanners.... that's funny!

      Finally, an amusing and harmless way to spend a Sunday afternooon...... pure genius!!

      I think we need a Facebook page for those clueless wireless neighbors and call it something like ..... I don't know... Wild and Wacky Wireless Pranks? Are there any more good stories out there ? Please share. Nothing like a little hands-on education...

    2. MistoRoboto
      Troll

      So much trolling...

      I bet you that was me doing that. I do that whenever I go to a friend's home during our D&D sessions much to chagrin of my friends who have to explain to their mom not to connect to 'TitsNAss'.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Silver lining...

    If two out of five *don't* know then can not we assume that three out of five *do* know? This seems like good news to me!

    5 years ago I would have bet you that only one in five would have even understood the question!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No prior technical knowledge

    For what value of "No?"

    First thing is that people have to realise that they even need security.

    Home users are expected to be network engineers these days. There is as much in many homes as there is in many small to medium offices. Security and encryption is not lesson-one stuff.

    I retired before wifi became common in the work place. To be honest, I know little about it and understand less.

    1. Pigeon

      Yup. Most of us would agree there.

      I wish I had some of those no-security neighbours. The router in my flat is a complete mystery. The landlord installed it. No, it doesn't have a sticker on the bottom. Other residents have got their computers working, but just reply with, er... dunno, in response to questions. The end result is, I have had to install a long+ cable all the way to the router.

      Maybe one day I'll work it out. If I'd successfully connected to at least one wireless router before, then I could have a chance. It isn't easy. The whole thing is tricky (and i is a IT hexpert)

  21. AndrewT
    Paris Hilton

    Not surprising...

    Here in Oz, the amount of people that I speak to on a daily basis concerning help setting up email addresses is scary.

    This is a task which should take no more than 2 to 4 minutes tops for the average punter however, the amount of people out there with no computer skills regularly turns it into a 10+ minute tooth extraction with a rusty razor and pliers.

    The fact is that people are lazy and they will not use any security until they either get hacked resulting in a huge bill or they are forced to by law.

    It's about time that Governments had the balls to do everyone a favour and make it compulsory to make anyone who buys a computer to do a basic computer skills night / weekend course at their local TAFE college and make it illegal for anyone to have an internet connection without anti-virus - they *are* out there and more widespread than anyone thinks.

    I've had people tell me it's too complex for them setting up an email password before today; when there is this level of people buying a computer it's hardly surprising that they would probably be the same that have no router security in place either, simply because it's "too hard".

    Paris? Because her IQ matches a lot of people out there on the 'net...

    1. edge_e
      Flame

      Re: Not surprising...

      Even assuming that people actually learnt something in the weekend course you propose, all you do is raise the bar slightly. This may stop some random passer by from using your network to find out what time the next bus is but it won't stop anyone with truly nefarious intentions and now , in their eyes, its the governments fault they've been hacked because they did everything they'd been told in class.

      I'm not saying that education isn't a good thing, it clearly is. You're not going to teach people, who don't want to learn, all about internet security in a weekend though.

      Further to this, sooner or later, the majority of people will secure there network anyway either because they've been hacked or they know somebody who has.

      It'll make bugger all difference though. Everyone has locks on their doors these days but people still get burgled.

      As for your anti virus suggestion, do you work for McAfee ?

      1. AndrewT
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Not surprising...

        @edge_e:

        Bottom line is whether or not you are a "techspert", we all need to know how to secure our routers these days. There is no excuse, it's just a fact of life and the ones that don't secure them and or don't have anti-virus and anti-spyware, well can you say 'botnet'?

        In reply to your question about whether or not I work for McAfee; no I don't, nor do I work for any anti-virus vendor. In fact I so despise the damn thing, the last time I used it it would have been a toss up between it, Microsoft and Norton's for the title of worst bloatware of the year. :-)

        I do work in the tech support area and have worked in every level from level 1 'helldesk' right through to statewide multi-node network administration, so i believe that over these levels I have a good understanding of the issue(s) out there. I see too many staff tied up with people who have no clue other than after seeing some idiot journalist on the local current affairs show sprouting about how easy it is to "make a million dollars with a web based business".

        Of course when they find out that a domain name and hosting are two very different things, and trying to explain why they can't access port 8443 (or any other for that fact) from behind the firewall of their day job, it all becomes just too hard. Heaven forbid we begin discussing how to configure an FTP client or the difference between POP, IMAP and SMTP, poor person will have a mental meltdown!!

        So, yes; I do have a heavy emphasis on education and people actually having a clue as to what they are getting into.

        Hell, why don't I go and prop up at a hospital near you tonight and announce that brain surgery sounds like a great thing to get into, but I'm a bit squeamish around blood and have shaky hands. Still, someone will be able to walk me through it won't they? I'll be kicked out before I even got to the shaky hands bit and quite rightly so. Is it really any worse than the PA at a company calling up saying "I'm really bad with computers but my boss has given me the job of setting up the company domain name and email addresses; oh and by the way, can you tell me how I make a web thingy?"

        So in summary, yes, it would be great if everyone had a computer but the sad fact of the situation is that there are some people that just shouldn't have one beyond working in their Excel spreadsheets and Word documents.

        As for routers, well if they were really easy to configure then there would be more security holes than they plug; just look at the majority of Windows OS versions for an example of this in action.

    2. Goat Jam
      Stop

      Illegal for anyone to have an internet connection without anti-virus

      1) Often, anti-virus causes as many problems as it solves

      2) anti-virus is not even particularly effective even if it is installed and (Gods be praised!) up to date

      3) I have an internet connection and no anti-virus and you can SOD OFF with your nanny state mentality

    3. Vic

      People without antivirus...

      > they *are* out there and more widespread than anyone thinks.

      And I'm one of them[1].

      I've been permanently connected to the Internet for many years now, and there have been absolutely no active viruses on either my green or orange LANs. My red LAN has loads - but that's what it's for (it's where customer machines[2] get connected).

      So I cannot agree with you that *everyone* should have AV.

      Vic.

      [1] That's not *strictly* true; my mailserver does have antivirus, because I have many Windows users who connect to it.

      [2] Most of those machines *are* running AV, and it's usually pretty much up-to-date - and totally failed, despite lots of congratulatory windows claiming that the machine is fully protected...

  22. Havin_it
    Unhappy

    2 in 5

    I wish the ratio was that good around my local, the airwaves there are locked up tighter than a nun's ch-

    astity belt.

  23. Martin Howe
    Black Helicopters

    And this on the very day...

    ...that a Chocolate Factory Car of Omniscience (tm) drove up and down our cul-de-sac, c/w Google logo. I wonder if it's an omen... :)

  24. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    What else are neighbours for?

    If you can't 'borrow' stuff....

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    BT Box Setup

    I had to sort out the new BT wireless box at my Dad's place last week.

    Not too bad, has little tab with default password & encryption key on it.

    Of course I changed the settings to the same as the old one (secured with wpa... save me fixing printer, 2 laptops, ipad......). As I did this I was forced to change the admin password. Great idea, but nowhere to write it on the tab with the default password on it....

    I ended up putting a sticker on it so that next time I am there and need to fix something I'll remember it. If you have physical access to the box, you have all the access you need anyway!

    Box shipped with security, but my Dad (70 this year) has no clue what it's all about and I would not expect him to learn, he does not need to know.

    Maybe a solution would be to ship the box with a USB key that plugs in the side of the router. When you want to setup on a new PC plug the key in. It has the SSID, key and all that is needed to securely connect, and when the router sees the key missing it allows new devices to connect if they have the data on the key.

    Just about any user could manage that. Yes i know it could install malware (read only key, not possible to infect once made should solve that), or not be compatible with the latest version of linux / OSX / Windows but it could be made to work....

  26. Leona A
    Paris Hilton

    Idiot proof?

    Nothing is Idiot proof, that only proves you've not found the right Idiot yet.

    My router came with no security at set up all, good old Virgin Media National! Just sent the box and basically told me to 'get on with it', good thing then that I 'know' how to set it up.

    If you 'have' to leave your router 'open' then you could lock it down to each devices MAC address and not broadcast your SSID, disable DHCP and use Static IP's, not ideal but might help.

    Most my neighbours seem to be 'clued' up too, their routers are secure, though there is one 'open' one, which I've not been able to connect to, just tried for curiosity, I have and pay for my own internet :)

    Paris, well I'm just a girl, what do I know about IT ?

  27. Chris 211

    idiots all around me

    Paul Crawford says "But ISPs are cheapskates who won't send someone round to put it in and do it properly"

    Why should they, do you expect washing machine makers to show you how to operate or install your washing machine for free?

    Version 1.0 says "The rest of us realize that the security offered is so bad that there's no real point in enabling it anyway."

    You obviously havent kept up with current news and just listen to script kiddies talking out of there ass. The current AES encryptions are more then enough to justify the 5 seconds to configure.

    If you dont know how to secure your access point, PAY someone to do it. Like most other IT people I am fed up with my skills being counted as zero because people think they should not have to pay for those skills. You dont expect plumbers, garages etc to do things for free do you?

    1. Giddy Kipper

      5 seconds to configure

      And you want to charge your mates/acquaintances for this period of effort?

      1. jason 7

        Oh there are always other things you can do.

        Such as re-site their router so it doesnt run through three extension cables.

        Pull out the bellwire.

        Change the admin password from the default.

        Make sure their wireless adaptors are set to best performance.

        Plug the ethernet enabled printer into the router so they can all use it.

        Remove Norton/McAfee/Kaspersky from their laptop and install MSSE.

        That should take around an hour maybe and thats £30-40 in your pocket.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      @Chris 211

      "do you expect washing machine makers to show you how to operate or install your washing machine for free?"

      No, but most white goods shops offer to deliver and install it for you, usually at a price, because most folk don't have plumbing skills & tools.

      An ISP is not the box maker, they are selling you a "service" and they should be in a position to do it properly. At a reasonable price if needed.

      A simple (but conceited?) test would be when you sign up to the ISP they ask you a couple of simple questions, like how to configure a router. If you know the answers they just post it, if not they strongly suggest you pay the £20 or whatever to have it done professionally.

      In the rest of the established technological world people are used to paying for things that are beyond them, such as installing a washing machine or servicing their car. Sadly the world of computers promises to "just work" but fails miserably to achieve this with any degree of reliability or security.

      So I still think my original comment is right, but I also 100% back you in getting folk to pay a professional if they have not got a clue. Which most don't :(

  28. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    Vendor Qualifications

    Vendors teach you where the tick boxes are that you need to tick, not why they are and why you need to tick them...

    Nothing beats learning theory and working it out for yourself.

  29. Dick Emery
    FAIL

    Wifi security why?

    I often wonder why there is this need for security anyhow. The chances of anyone using your open wifi for doing naughty stuff is pretty low. Most mobile surfers just want to do a spot of email checking or check the footy result and wotnot.

    The nation is paranoid about terrorists and kiddy fiddlers. WTF is wrong with this country? I know the T&C's of most peoples ISP's prohibit sharing the connection outside the household but hey...if we all had open wifi just think how much nicer it would be for taking your mobile toys with you and not having to worry about finding a connection and/or having to pay through the nose for it.

    All of you procrastinating about securing your wifi are the same people who keep prattling on about losing your freedoms in function creep from the gubberment. Yet you are too shit scared to leave your wifi open 'just in case' someone uses it for nefarious activities.

    1. Chris 211

      Wifi security why?

      For the same reason you close your curtains, an open wifi network draws in people, people who might want to sniff the packets and discover things I want to keep private because I closed the curtains... Midget porn or my passwords I dont want everyone knowing...

      Freedom to encrypt my information without the government having laws to demand keys to unlock my private information. Which they do. If you create an encryption by law if ordered by a court you have to hand over the encryption and keys. Freedom works both ways.

  30. Nick Pettefar

    Mother

    My mother bought a 13in MBPro so she could play Farmville-or-something in the lounge and maybe some Scrabble-thing. She then called out the shop engineer (Computer World I think) because it would not work. After some investigation he discovered that she did not have a WLAN and never had one.

    I ask you!

  31. kwikbreaks

    Open networks

    A casual stroll with an Android phone running Wardrive will show plenty of open APs so this report doesn't surprise me and expect few others either.

    Apart from BTFON which is supposed to be open the most common easily identified SSID are the various Belkin defaults so presumably they come with WiFi on and no security set by default. It's a fair bet that the router passwords are default too so should bandwidth thieves find that the router owners usage is slowing down their torrents unduly locking out the owners should be pretty trivial.

  32. Gobhicks
    Unhappy

    I've tried...

    Believe me: I'm not thick. I've tried to secure my wifi. Once I switch on any kind of security available on my router I can't get anything to connect at all. My router's a few years old - older than my laptop, Wii and phone. I can't get the kid's DS to connect to it any which way. Maybe a firmware update would help, but the fear of it screwing everything up puts me off. Am I supposed to buy a new router just to keep the neighbour's kids off my network? Is there actually any hope of finding a security protocol that suits all my devices? I've got two wirelss printers also but I've given up on ever printing wirelessly.

    And my perfectly good HP LaserJet 4L is still redundant for lack of a Vista driver!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm...

      I can't say about Vista, because I've just upgraded to 7, but 7 has HP Laserjet 4, and 4+ drivers. I did have to 'windows update' the printer drivers to get my deskjet going, so they may not be on the list.

      1. Gobhicks

        Thanks

        Vista has LJ4 and LJ4+ drivers, but not LJ4L. The 4 and 4+ drivers work with the 4L, up to a point, for plain text.

        Does anyone remember when a printer was a proper tool and not just an entry point for an eco-hostile consumables revenue stream?

        1. Goat Jam

          Uh, hold on there buddy

          "Does anyone remember when a printer was a proper tool and not just an entry point for an eco-hostile consumables revenue stream?"

          Hewlett-Packard would be a long forgotten memory if it were not for their extremely lucrative printer ink revenue.

          You really should consider all the ramifications before you engage your brain and question the status quo.

          It's the patriotic thing to do you know . . .

  33. Jason Togneri
    WTF?

    @ various and sundry

    "I often wonder why there is this need for security anyhow. [...] Most mobile surfers just want to do a spot of email checking or check the footy result and wotnot."

    Really? Obviously you don't have any shared devices or folders on your network. If you use it *purely* for internet access, and your machines are all locked down, then maybe. I know I share folders between machines and have NAS boxen.

    But even if it's internet-only, what's to stop them downloading kiddie pr0n and then running away, leaving you to be faced with the criminal investigation...? I know that if I wanted to do something illegal, I'd find some other sod's internet connection to do it on, rather than at home.

    @ LaserJet 4L

    I can confirm that mine works under both Vista and 7. You obviously suck at configuring your system.

    1. Gobhicks
      Unhappy

      @ LaserJet 4L

      Cheers Jase - I guess I drank the Plug'n'Play Kool-Aid too long ago.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        LaserJet 4L was a Pre-PnP device.

        Plug-and-Play is Hit-or-Miss for those devices built before the standard was the norm or which use antiquated ports like the old Parallel Port. And I don't think the 4L (I used to own one) supported the Enhanced Printer Port and couldn't talk back to the computer; it was a truly "dumb" printer. So your only solution was to configure it manually, since the printer is incapable of doing it for you.

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