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Wi-Fi password issue
Old 05-08-2016, 04:04 PM   #1
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Wi-Fi password issue

In my HOA our computers, printers, and key system are linked by wi-fi network. Over the last year the password to that wi-fi has been shared with residents. About 2 weeks ago I went into panic mode when I found that a resident shared it with his guest and she has been camping out on our wi-fi for hours at a time for several days. Our computers have resident personal information, HOA financial information, and a link to our property manager's network.

I, basically, told the guest to go to Starbucks and use their wi-fi. In reflection that was rude but I was concerned that our network security could be breached. Since that incident the network name, password has been changed and that wi-fi 'hidden' (not broadcasting).

Were my concerns overblown?

FWIW we will be installing a separate modem with a different name and password for residents.
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Old 05-08-2016, 04:28 PM   #2
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Were my concerns overblown?
Not only were your concerns not overblown, but IMHO your privacy protection has been woefully inadequate. Does your HOA not have a privacy policy? Does the Board not include a Privacy Officer? What does the legislation require in Oregon?
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Old 05-08-2016, 04:36 PM   #3
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You should be able to set up a guest account, with limited access. IF you want that.
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Old 05-08-2016, 04:36 PM   #4
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You did exactly right.

Another thought would be to set up an additional "guest" network in addition to the regular one you use.

For example, we occasionally have an overnight guest stay with us. I use a very long, arcane password for our wifi, and it would be tough for our friends to have to type all that in for just one night. So I have a guest network (on the same router) with a simpler password for them. That way, they can just get on the internet using the guest network, with no access to our personal machines.

You might look into creating such a guest network for your own purposes.

BTW, not using the SSID to broadcast your network name is often considered a good security practice, but in fact it won't defeat anyone who is actually trying to break in.
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Old 05-08-2016, 04:45 PM   #5
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what is the goal of the HOA wi-fi? If it is just wi fi business, then you likely don't to let everyone in the neighborhood on.
If you are letting the residents use the WiFi to get to the internet, I hope you are using a plan that allows sharing.
As you note you are setting up a different network for residents... many new wifi routers will allow you to set up "guest networks" using the same equipment and back haul, but separating them logically.
Why don't you use wifi mac reservations for people you want to allow on each network. This way you have a little more control. You still can't stop people who have a right to use a system loaning their equipment and passwords..
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Old 05-08-2016, 05:08 PM   #6
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Not sure why you would have a shared WiFi connection with anyone. We live in a 28 units development with each owner having a private and secure WiFi connection. If I want to share mine with guests which I sometimes do they are only accessing my network and not the HOA or any of my neighbors.
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Old 05-08-2016, 05:22 PM   #7
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Were I the queen bee I would not provide wi-fi to residents at all but there are HOA politics to consider. The price of a separate wi-fi connection for residents in the lobby is a small price to pay.
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Old 05-08-2016, 07:16 PM   #8
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It is amazing to me that someone would pay for common WiFi as an HOA expense.

Unless it is a super capable service at high cost, why bother? And like others have said, there are guest facilities in such environments. And if you are concerned about guests, what about your neighbours?
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Old 05-08-2016, 07:30 PM   #9
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Actually nosy neighbors are a risk IMHO. We are in a very nice urban neighborhood, I pointed out to the concierge that cars parked on the street could easily see that we have a broadcast wi-fi signal. Heck, a car parked next to the building should be able to see 4-bars. If we don't broadcast at least the casual hacker will look for easier targets.

I am the President of the HOA and suspect that some residents think I drive a broom - but golly, one person's courtesy to a friend could jeopardize our network. Someone must draw a line for the safety of all.

The casual passing out of the password set a precedence. Some residents like to retreat to our very nice Fireplace Room off the lobby just to get out of the house some times. A couple residents are remodeling units so they are 'camping out', they have only a smart phone and an IPad. Then there is the bulk services contract for TV that every resident is billed for, a separate shared guest wi-fi in the vicinity of the lobby is small change.
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