I’m often asked if it’s really necessary to put a password on a Wi-Fi connection instead of just leaving it as an open network.
The reason they usually give is they want to make it easy for their guests to use their Wi-Fi during their visits.
I receive some variation of that question at least a couple of times every week, and my answer is always the same…
YES!!!!! (shouting intentional)
If you allow your Wi-Fi network to remain open for public use, someone with mal-intentions could use it to do any manner of illegal and evil things.
And if that ever happens the digital trail will lead right to you, not the perpetrator! After all, it’s YOUR network and YOUR IP address that was used to commit the illicit act(s).
In case you’re wondering whether these things really happen, this news story is yet another brick in that wall of proof.
You’re certainly welcome to read the story yourself, but if you’re pressed for time I’ll give you the gist of it right here…
Remember JonBenét Ramsey, the little 6 year old beauty queen who was found murdered a few years back?
Well, no one was ever officially charged for that crime, but this story could shed new light on it after all these years.
The photographer that took JonBenét’s “glamour shot” photos has just been arrested for using a nearby restaurant’s open Wi-Fi network to download child pornography to his computer.
The only reason he was caught is the restaurant noticed the illegal activity taking place via their network and notified the police. The police then used special equipment to track the illegal web traffic straight to the perp’s computer in real time.
That’s the good news. They got him!
Now, for the bad news…
Do you know how to monitor your own Wi-Fi network for illegal activity? I’m guessing that you probably don’t because very few people outside of law enforcement circles do.
If that man (or someone like him – maybe even a neighbor) had parked his car down the street from your house and used your Wi-Fi network to download child porn, you wouldn’t even know about it until the police came knocking at your door.
Of course a search of your computer(s) and mobile devices would come up empty for illegal images, but can you imagine the hassle of having your home raided and your devices seized and held while strangers sift through your every email and comb through every folder?
Trust me, it’s a hassle you can live without.
That’s why you really do need to protect your Wi-Fi network with a strong password, even if you live out in the country with no neighbors living close by.
Bottom line: Yes, it’s an inconvenience when your guests have to ask for the password to your Wi-Fi network, but just imagine the inconvenience of having the cops knocking on your door at 3am when you have done nothing wrong.
If you haven’t done so already, I strongly recommend that you put a strong password on your Wi-Fi network, ASAP!
Bonus tip #1: Click here to read about several scams and hoaxes that are making the rounds right now.
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