Sharing WiFi with neighbors and friends - that should be noted

Do you want to share your WiFi with your new neighbors, a lodger or couch surfing guest, with friends or relatives? Then it is not the best idea to simply pass on the password for the main access. How you should proceed instead and which tools give you (legal) security in the event of a possible misuse of your WiFi connection, I have put together in this advisory article.

Note: The following content does not constitute legal advice, but is the result of my research. Nevertheless, please write questions, answers and your own experiences as comments!

Share the WiFi with neighbors and friends - here you will find tips and tricks on everything you have to consider.

Share the WiFi with neighbors and friends - here you will find tips and tricks on everything you have to consider.

Share WiFi with others - ideally via guest access

The guest access in your WLAN network is ideal for guests, the new neighbors who are still waiting to be connected, for subtenants and all other "foreign" users. Because a WiFi access set up as a guest offers the possibility of using the Internet and sending data both upstream and downstream, but leaving out the house network and the configuration of the router. 

It is like a guest user account on the computer that requires the admin password to make changes to the system or to call up certain services. This is how you effectively protect yourself against unauthorized calls to the router software, computers, IoT devices and servers integrated in the house network. You can usually set up guest access in the software of your router, which most manufacturers can access via the browser.

Current AVM Fritz! Box models: 7590 high-end WLAN (DSL) and 6590 WLAN (cable)

Liability for interference: Am I liable for illegal internet use by my guests?

The topic of “liability for interference” has rapidly decreased in the media attention since last year; Among other things, because since April 2017 WLAN operators in Germany have not been liable per se for misuse of their network. If the operator can prove that the illegal download or even the upload of pirated copies or other illegal material was carried out by guests, then those guests will be prosecuted. However, there is no crystal clear regulation, so if you have any doubts you should continue reading (Wikipedia ) and the advice of an expert (about here) should catch up. 

In einem Article from irights.info there is also still to read that as a WLAN provider you probably have to pay reminder fees, but no compensation for damages. It is also pointed out that one should secure one's Internet connection through “reasonable measures”. The difference between private, public and commercial networks is also pointed out. In conclusion, it says for the WiFi provided and in the event of a warning:

If you have secured your WiFi sufficiently, you don't have to pay anything if you can prove that you did not commit the violation yourself.
If the WLAN access is unsecured, the current legal situation means that you can be responsible for what third parties do with it. In the event of a warning about copyright infringement by third parties, you usually have to sign a modified cease and desist declaration and pay the warning costs, but not pay any compensation.
It is usually advisable to have at least the pre-formulated cease and desist declaration checked, for example by consumer advice centers or a lawyer.

How do I prove my innocence? / How do I monitor the traffic?

Of course, you play it safe if you don't just create a guest access to share WiFi, maybe a blacklist to block KinoX and Co. (View legal KinoX alternatives here) as well as against file sharing and also obtains a declaration from the user that they only use the web legally. In addition to these measures, the recording of Internet activities also serves as a safeguard and possibly as evidence in an emergency. 

Important: Basically, you are only authorized to record your own traffic and the Internet use of your underage children in the private WLAN or LAN network. Services in the router's software and programs such as Wireshark to be useful. However, such logging can yours alone Web behavior also state that you are using the illegal services at the time in question should not used or made available.

What is Wireshark?

Wireshark is an app available free of charge for Windows, Linux and macOS or Mac OS X, which measures and can record the traffic in the local network. The software, which is 604,5 MB in size for the Apple Mac, offers many options for evaluating and analyzing traffic, but admittedly does not offer the simplest user interface. If you google a little, you will find out that you can find the IP addresses and recorded packets with their various names via the menu item Analysis -> Decode as ... can also be output as an HTTP name or as a URL.

For this article, I took a quick look at the software and found that after a period of familiarization with it, you can certainly get along well with it. Anyone who (of course, in consultation with the third-party user) regularly pays attention to the security of their network thanks to Wireshark, will surely find their way around the individual windows and menus after a few applications. The download, questions and answers as well as accessibility are available on https://www.wireshark.org. 

WLAN for guests - helpful links, instructions and advice

Here I have put together a collection of links for you, which contains various advice and instructions from other sources. This also includes assistance in using the analysis and recording functions of various routers (Fritz! Box, SpeedPort, Alice, Easybox, etc.): 

And here is the video linked above on the topic, ready to watch:

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6 comments

  1. Sebo069 says:

    A Raspberry with a Pi-Hole is ideal for monitoring the local network traffic. On the one hand, all DNS requests from the clients can be logged in your own local network and, on the other hand, you can get rid of annoying advertisements / trackers on websites regardless of the device. In addition, extensive block lists can be created so that inquiries about undesired Internet services are blocked at the DNS level (i.e. no connections to the requested domains can be established).

  2. Dietmar says:

    Wireshark is free, isn't it?

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