[OT] Does ad-hoc network depend on "security through obscurity ?"

Sascha Silbe sascha-ml-ui-sugar-olpc-devel at silbe.org
Sun May 30 06:50:35 EDT 2010

Excerpts from Mikus Grinbergs's message of Sun May 30 09:38:37 +0000 2010:

> I've been currently using an Ad-Hoc wireless network (set up by clicking
> in an XO's palette at the gray icon in Frame) for testing collaboration.
>  That network is performing well, and has been reliable.

> But this was on channel 1.  Can neighbors (or drive-bys) connect to it?
The channel doesn't matter. And yes, as you can see by your other XOs
not needing any authentication, everyone can connect to it. This isn't
specific to Sugar or the XO. Unlike the XO Mesh, ad-hoc mode is
standardised (IEEE 802.11 IBSS) and supported by virtually all devices.
There's nothing "obscure" about it (re. "security through obscurity");
at least NetworkManager and iwconfig will list it with all the other
(i.e.  infrastructure mode) wireless network. I don't know how setting
up / discovering networks works on Windows or Mac, so can't tell whether
they show ad-hoc ones as well.

Unlike Sugar, the Gnome UI for NetworkManager offers enabling WEP/WPA
when creating the ad-hoc network, but I don't know how well this is
supported by the chipsets (one forum post I stumbled upon suggests that
at least a Broadcom one seems to have issues).

> And what is my legal liability if they do?
IANAL, but given that NetworkManager (which Sugar relies on for doing the
actual work) does not enable "connection sharing" (NAT from private
network to default route) by default and Sugar does not enable it either
you should be pretty safe. If anyone can gain access to any of your hosts
via the unsecured network, you already screwed up before.


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