So I had a debate with my wife and father in law the other day. They insisted that his 2 month old HP laptop with Vista HOME was broken. He had just started staying with us after being in the shoe-horned suburbs of Las Vegas for about a year. Seriously those houses are WAY too close, anyway, it went something like this…
Me: How is it broken?
Them: We can’t get to the internet.
Me: Well how do you usually get there?
Them: We just “click on the internet”
Me: Please show me.
Them: “Double clicking on the Desktop Internet Explorer icon”
Me: You need a connection to an ISP before IE will work.
InLaw: I always have a connection to an ISP, I just have to boot.
At this point I understood what was confusing them, and it struck me as a scary thought. They were so used to the prevalence of unsecured Wireless Routers in suburbia, it made more sense that the laptop was broken then there happen to be no wide open Wireless internet signals in range. It goes to show how accommodating Windows is when it detects a Wireless LAN, it simply connects so the user doesn’t have to do anything but “Click on the Internet.”
I hear the new routers you get are starting to come out with Pre-shared Keys already defined and “SecureEasySetup” technology which is good, hopefully they are all WPA and not WEP. But that doesn’t change the fact there are tons of them already out there just waiting for someone to boot up. Now I’m going to surprise you and not go on a diatribe about why you should lock down your Wireless router, isn’t the fact that someone else is using your $40 / month connection enough? Linksys has some flash video targeted at the average home user on how to setup WPA, MAC filtering, SSID broadcasting, etc here is a link. Remember your security is your responsibility, in other words you reap what you sow.