As a provider of laptop encryption software, AlertBoot knows the importance of using cryptographic tools to secure information. Some might say it’s a no-brainer: if your laptop holds sensitive data on thousands of people, why wouldn’t you encrypt it?
But what about encrypting one’s wireless internet connection? Interestingly enough, there are people who wonder whether it needs to be secured.
Pro: Encrypt Wi-Fi, Keep People Out
This story by the Associated Press shows why you’ll want to ensure that your Wi-Fi is secured: A man in Buffalo, NY was eventually cleared of being a child pornographer after a team of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided his home in the middle of the night for downloading images.
The man cried foul, and a subsequent investigation of his computer’s contents showed that he was telling the truth. The culprit was his neighbor who had used the man’s non-secured wireless internet connection.
Had the man switched on encryption on his wireless router, his neighbor would have had to get his “fix” from somewhere else, and the man would never have been a target in ICE’s operation.
Con: What If You’re Hacked?
A contra argument towards using wi-fi encryption? The same scenario as the above, but with a twist: what if you’re hacked, and the hacker downloads child porn using your wi-fi? Wouldn’t the fact that illegal media were downloaded using a secured connection cast definite suspicion on you, an innocent party?
One argument for keeping wi-fi open to all — aside from the fact that it’s neighborly: you can find a lot of people on-line thanking the fact that there was an open wi-fi connection when their own ISPs went down — is that the unencrypted state of the connection allows for plausible deniability.
My Opinion? Keep It Secure
My own opinion is to keep one’s wi-fi connection encrypted. Ultimately, it seems to me that anyone arrested for downloading something or other will find that their computers will be seized and then analyzed, like our Buffalo man above, whether their wi-fi was encrypted or not.
When you factor-in the fact that there will be forensic evidence that you didn’t download certain materials (because they don’t show up on your computer), why would having plausible deniability even be an issue?
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