ISPs Plan To Use Your WiFi Router To Create Public Hotspots

Juniper Research says that one in three home routers will be PUBLIC WiFi hotspots in the US and Europe by 2017.  ISPs such as Comcast and Cablevision have already started this process.

The ISPs say that the public use of your router won’t affect your speeds, but people are somewhat dubious.

The bigger issue is likely that these routers are typically models that cost the ISPs about $10-$20.  Do YOU think the security of such a router is going to be bullet proof?  I don’t.  Sorry.

Even if the routers require an upgrade, it likely won’t be patched on a regular basis.  Hackers will likely start war driving to see who’s router is acting as a public WiFi hotspot and target those boxes for attack.

In addition, ISPs are neither asking your permission nor obtaining your approval prior to doing this.

You should be able to see the public WiFi access point in the list of available hotspots from your phone.

In many ISP routers, you have access to the control panel and can turn off WiFi.  Whether that turns off the public hotspot is unclear.  I decided long ago to buy my own personal WiFi hotspot, so I don’t use my ISP’s WiFi.  Therefore, when I unscrewed and removed the antenna, it doesn’t affect me, but it beats the crap out of the distance their hotspot will support, no matter what they do.  You can’t beat out physics.

The ISPs are doing this to provide a service to their customers of “WiFi anywhere”.  I understand the concept, but I certainly would not recommend using that public WiFi any more than I would use public WiFi elsewhere.

If that home router has been hacked, both the public and private side of that router will likely be compromised, and a lot of home routers have been hacked.

Stay tuned as the ISPs roll this out.  No telling how this will play out.


Information for this post came from Network World.

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