The PhoneBoy Blog


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Another Round with the Whisher Folks

I will give points to the folks from Whisher, who seem to be taking a bigger interest in what punters like me have to say than FON is. This time around, I’m not going to respond to each point they brought up, just a couple that are worth bringing up:

  1. The Fonera does support dual SSIDs, and you can indeed tag your public, non-encrypted SSID and share your private SSID with Whisher. We are not either or with Fon, but rather ‘on top of’. We require WEP/WPA to register an AP, but you can tag any open one.

Tagging is useful, though one wonders how you differentiate from, say, a “linksys” SSID at one location versus a “linksys” SSID at a completely different location.  I suppose you can also store the MAC address of the unit.

  1. Regarding dual SSIDs, security – your case is special, and please don’t tell me that the average Joe will follow your setup. I agree it’s the best in terms of security, and we actively promote and encourage that, but our target user is the übergeek -and- the regular user.

I’m not just an über-geek, I am a paranoid bastard über-geek, thank you very much. Comes from years of having to support Check Point VPN-1. :) I acknowledge the average person wouldn’t go through what I go through. I have firewalls within my network.

That being said, I think the dual SSID thing is likely good enough for the vast majority of people out there, provided it is implemented correctly (with a firewall) between the two SSIDs.

  1. We are working on documents to help out users in these topics, such as increasing security and taking precautions, and your suggestions to promote WPA are right and welcome. I have been involved in wardriving since the early stages, promoting exactly this sort of thing (I wrote StumbVerter, and co-authored ‘Wardriving: Drive, Detect, Defend’ –shameless plug!).

The trick is, explaining it to them in words they can understand. I might suggest borrowing a couple of pages from Steve Gibson, who did a reasonable job explaining all this stuff on the Security Now! podcasts.


C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.