Flowchart: Should You Open Your Home WiFi?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

To open your home wireless internet, or not, that is the question. And to help you decide whether or not to do away with that long string of garbled letters and symbols allegedly protecting your internet, we made you a flowchart. 

This handy dandy guide is mostly based on a conversation with Brian S. Hall on this week's New Tech City. Hall is a writer and reporter covering mobile computing and other topics and he's done away with password protection for his home WiFi because it just got too annoying to deal with and, he says, it's not that risky. 

Hear his explanation and a rapid fire round of Q&A where he says when to open your WiFi and when not to (hence our flowchart). 

Click the image for a larger view:



Brian S. Hall

Hosted by:

Manoush Zomorodi


Louise Ma

Comments [5]

Linda Vernia

Your article is extremely impressive.


Dec. 23 2013 12:16 AM
HC from NJ

Roland's point is scary. Not just for porn, but anything illegal. Do we really make ourselves targets?
Please, computer people, I would like to hear other points of view on this.
Is Roland paranoid or spot on?

Dec. 05 2013 11:19 PM
Roland from South Carolina

Brian Hall is clearly uneducated on this subject. If your neighbor has access to your WiFi, they could download illegal content. Your Internet Provider can disconnect your service after getting a legal complaint from the "net-cops" (MPAA et al). Additionally, since you are actively letting someone access illegal material through your WiFi, some jurisdictions will consider you a party to the crime. Pedophiles love folks like Mr. Hall. They can drive to his neighborhood w/ a directional antenna download GBs of porn, and then drive off. The Feds will show up at your house, in force (cop cars, flashing lights, jack boots, etc), take every computer, cell phone, and any potentially net capable device. And of course, they'll drag you off in front of your kids and neighbors. Bet that will make your kids popular at school!

Dec. 01 2013 11:27 AM
Peter Capek from Osisining

I'm reminded by this discussion of a friend's experience when he moved into a new apartment in Boston. He discovered to his pleasant surprise that some neighbor had an open WiFi access point, but its performance was bad and apparently needed its firmware upgraded. So, he upgraded and fixed the performance, since the logon password to the router hadn't been changed from the manufacturer's default and it was easy to guess. He still doesn't know whose router it is, or where it is.

Nov. 21 2013 09:39 AM
Mariano from Argentina

What incentive do I have to pay for Internet access if I can count on my neighbours to share their's with me?

The best exchanges are the win-win ones. When sharing wifi with strangers, they win and you lose. It is not the same as coffee shops that give away wifi but get customers. Also not the same as sharing with friends or visitors that can at least thank you and even if they don't you see you are helping them. If you just open wifi to anyone, you don't know what good you are doing to whom.

Nov. 20 2013 01:38 PM

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