But it’s not always a force for good, as the Bless This Net project demonstrates. While it looks pretty, the idea behind Bless This Net is that you can post your network name and password somewhere in your home for visitors.
While that’s not really a smart move, it’s even dumber to display it ON YOUR WINDOW, like the people who set this project up actually did on their Kickstarter page.
Bless This Net is a successfully funded Kickstarter project set up by C. Ginger and Laura Mahan. It’s essentially a slip of paper designed to look like a piece of cross-stitch art. By colouring in the dots on the paper you can create a ‘Bless This Mess’-style wall hanging to display your SSID and password.
While it’s certainly convenient for frequent visitors, it’s perhaps not so great if you have a house party, someone poses for a selfie with your wall hanging in the background before posting it online. Congratulations, your mate has just broadcast your security credentials to The Entire Internet.
Even more worryingly, in the FAQ Ginger and Mahan attempt to address security concerns with this:
“We all face a dilemma with our wireless routers. On the one hand, we want to make it easy for our visitors (and ourselves!) to sign onto the network—so it’s tempting to just skip using a password altogether.”
Yeah, don’t bother with a password guys. Just let anybody rock up and use your bandwidth without paying. Let anybody download albums and movies from a torrent site or even worse, access illegal sex abuse images. You totally won’t get in trouble.
To be fair, Ginger and Mahan do attempt to address this problem but in doing so, tacitly admit that their product is utterly worthless:
“On the other hand, we want to make it difficult for neighbors, wandering hackers, and the occasional gigantic search company to get onto our networks and spy on our Netflix habits—so we know we should use a strong, unique, and often hard-to-remember password.
“If you regularly have visitors with whom you wouldn’t share that password, or if you’re working on something so secret that spies with binoculars are a real concern, well, you might want to pass on this project.”
Despite this dire warning, hundreds thought that this was a good idea – perhaps ignoring the fact that you can get a fairly hi-res screengrab of the design from the Kickstarter page. So it’s basically free for anyone who wants it.
Then again, what do we know? 235 people backed the project, which cleared its $1,179 budget by $3,448. More fool them for not knowing about right click, save as.
If you really want to make your home network more accessible to visitors, it’s easy to buy a third party router with a guest network setting, which can be as secure or insecure as you like.
If you’re thick enough to get behind this product and your home network is hacked, you’ve only got yourself to blame.
Are we being too harsh (no) or is this really a stupid and potentially dangerous product (yes)? Let us know in the comments.