If you’ve ever been out swimming with sharks, and why on earth would you, you’ll notice how quickly the pack of flesh devouring fish circle around the blood that the captain of the tour throws over the boat. Sure, you were probably checking out his bikini-clad daughter a little too long and didn’t heed his warnings during his pre-tour speech but that doesn’t give him the right to speed away in the boat leaving you to fend for yourself. Either way, the site of that Great White’s circling your body is something I deal with everyday in my neighborhood. You see, the person who lives across the street from me has an unsecured wireless network and at all hours of the day there are random cars making the rounds, stopping for a couple minutes to update their Facebook status and to send out tweets before moving on for another lap to stay unnoticed. Besides increased traffic to your cul-de-sac, there are a number of other cons to sharing your wi-fi as well as some benefits.
Negatives Of Sharing Your Wi-Fi
If you decide to share your Wi-Fi or not, you should never leave an unsecured network like my friendly neighbor. If you want to let people leech off your Internet, at least set up a user name and give them the password. If random strangers use your Internet to download risqué shark pictures, Tweet that they’re going to bomb the local Arby’s, or upload illegal Ace of Base songs, this activity can be traced to your Wi-Fi. It would be tough to prosecute but why even take the chance?
Another reason you should think twice about sharing your Wi-Fi is the usage of bandwidth that might not be available to you. The guy across the hall who always wears camouflage pants might seem like a trusting comrade but if you give him your Wi-Fi password and he plays Call Of Duty online 22-½ hours day you might struggle just to check your email at the end of the month.
Only share your Wi-Fi with people you trust and to make sure your password isn’t making the rounds like a Kardashian through an NBA roster, change it monthly. Remember that you’ll lose a layer of security when sharing your WIFI so remember to turn off sharing for the files and folders on your computer. Also, load up on anti-virus software before you post your password on the bulletin board in the apartment lobby because even though people will tread lightly in the websites they browse early…they’ll eventually type in ‘nude sharks’ in the Google search bar.
Positives of Sharing Your WI-FI
If you live in an apartment complex or there’s a new family moving in across the street on your block, it’s a good neighborly gesture to share your WI-FI until they can get there’s set up. You’ll instantly bond with the newcomers and can help take some stress out of their move. Also, sharing your WI-FI can be a good way to make some money. When people search for networks and find that your signal strength is high, they’ll eventually ask around and trace it back to you. Share your WiFi and make money. Tell them you charge everybody $10 a month to use it and it wouldn’t be fair to give it away for free. Nobody should have problems paying $10 for Internet and if you get enough people to chip in, you could actually get your own Internet for free. Remember that this might violate your ISP contract so I wouldn’t be driving around in a Rolls Royce bragging about your WiFi windfall.
Setting Up A Guest Account
When you want to walk the tightrope of being a friendly neighbor but not having your tax records readily available to the public, you can set up a guest account for your WI-FI network. WI-FI guest accounts can be set up through the router or on the router website. Once you find out where your particular router has the administrative information, you can set up a guest account by setting up an additional SSID, or service set identifier. Search for an option that says something along the lines of ‘separate SSID’ and find a 32-character number that identifies your LAN. By clicking on this you can set up a guest account user name and password that will operate separately and securely from the network you use for your daily tasks.
How To Tell If Somebody Is Stealing Your Wi-Fi
Even if you take the steps to provide Internet to your deadbeat neighbors, some will try and circumvent your actions and steal your WIFI anyway. This act is called ‘piggybacking’ as they hop on and use the service you pay your hard earned money for. If you’re experience unusually slow Internet, lagging, or you notice a car outside your house that appears to be on a stakeout, there might be a leech on your connection. Through your router you can see a wireless network log which will show you at what times somebody was accessing the WI-FI. Additionally you can install network monitoring software to catch the culprits in the act…just be 100% sure where it’s coming from as you don’t want to compromise an actual stakeout.
Finally, you can turn off SSID broadcasting so that your network doesn’t appear on any WI-FI network searches. Simply go to your router homepage, then find the SSID section and make sure that the Broadcast SSID is not ticked.
Still, the best defense is to change your password regularly and to not give it away like Paris Hilton at a movie première.
In the end, the choice to share your WIFI is totally up to you. I personally don’t share mine, as I don’t want to take the chance of not having Internet at any time of day because 20 of my neighbors are using my connection. If there’s one lesson I’ve always followed, it’s never feed the sharks.