WiFi Security & Content
Hotspots need VLAN
WiFi security is a big issue!
There is a widely held misconception that encrypting your data using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or by using WiFi Encryptions keys will protect your PC from attack while using a public HotSpot.
The fact is that VPN only protects the data while it is being sent from one place to another. The PC itself has all it’s “file shares” and “ports” exposed to other users on the network. This means that a casual hacker could try to gain access to your PC.
This can be as easy as browsing your “Network Neighbourhood”. You can then see all the other clients attached to the HotSpot network.
Some vendors say that it is up to the customer to protect themselves, but suppliers can do better than this by providing VLAN (or Virtual LAN) Wireless access points which create a private network for every client joining a HotSpot network.
In a similar manner, the use of Encryption keys can restrict who uses the network, but once authenticated the clients can still see each other. Encryption keys are great for home and office WiFi but are of little benefit on a public service. These keys have the added complication of adding complexity to the system and making it unfriendly to customers. Plus, once the key is given out to a customer it is no longer private so the point of the key is negated anyway.
The only way to secure a HotSpot network is with VLAN …
.. and Hospitality Internet provide it with every installation*.
You may have heard about the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 that came into effect 1st September 2011.
This law was introduced to help curb the unlawful distribution of pirated and copyright material over the internet.
Now we realise that you folks are not going to be indulging in this type of thing but there is a risk that your guests, who use your guest internet system, may.
It sounds scary, so we have attempted put the law into a ‘nut shell’ for you to explain what it is and what can be done about it. Some of our competitors are make bold claims that they block torrent downloads but actually all they do is block the source sites. If a guest has a torrent running already then they are not stopping this and that is the bit where you will get ‘seen’ as a downloader. We have a proper fix, but first lets take a moment to understand it all…
Technology and the law:
The law is intended to find users on the internet that are sharing files that are considered as copyright. That means that they shouldn’t be sharing or downloading them.
The vast majority of such files are shared via a technology called Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing. Files are shared and downloaded from multiple sources on the internet. This is called ‘torrenting’.
The copyright owners look for people that are sharing, or ‘seeding’, these files and they may then choose to take action.
The copyright owners cannot see inside your network, all they can see is your connection to the internet which is provided by your ISP (eg. Spark, Vodafone, Slingshot…etc)
The copyright owner then has to contact your ISP (they have to pay the $25 to the ISP) and the ISP then sends you (the account holder) an infringement notice.
You can then respond and if the copyright holder accepts that the person has left the property the notice is wiped. If they don’t then you can dispute it via the Copyright Tribunal.
The law was going to allow for your internet connection to be discontinued after ‘3 strikes’ (3 warnings).
But after ‘3 strikes’ the copyright owner may choose to seek compensation.
What can be done about it?:
File sharing is primarily conducted over P2P programs. At HIL we have been working to find the best solution to deal with the issue of illegal file sharing.
Already your HIL system ‘discourages’ P2P programs by limiting what are known as ‘sessions’, or simultaneous connections to the internet, but this is not a total solution.
To fix it completely we can provide you with a new, managed, router that will block just about any service from the internet that you desire. It has always been our philosophy that if a person pays for internet use then we shouldn’t restrict what they do with it…that’s their business, but in this case we can block P2P activity.
Most of your guests are transient users of your service. They come and go and while some may have been using a P2P program they will probably not attract the attention of copyright holders as lots of legal files are shared the same way also. We would ‘think’ that the law is designed to catch out serial abusers at fixed locations.
However, we can’t be sure how aggressively the law will be enforced.
Because of the ‘3 Strike’ rule, and the fact that there is a good chance that you will not be notified, our advice is to wait and see. Save your money. If you do get a notification from your provider then you know that you can turn to us and we will have a solution for you.
Please note that we administer over 200 WiFi locations around the country and in this community of clients not one “strike” has yet been received. We’ll keep you posted.