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  • fibre to the property is being installed in my road for the first time
  • my landlord doesn't want lots of holes in their building
  • they acknowledges that FttP is probably necessary going forward

So their solution is to have 1 package/contract installed in the lobby and then use a Mesh network to get it to the 4 flats.

My concerns are

  • with 4 flats using it the password will be common knowledge
  • whilst I can use a VPN for my phone/pc I can't for my printer, so either no network printing or anyone can access it
  • if I forget to use my VPN or I need to use a site that doesn't allow VPN's then what are the risks?
    • https sites should be fine?
    • what about http?
  • what about guests that don't have VPN's?
  • no network storage(?)
  • I want to set up a plex server at some point will this be insecure/even possible?
  • will Alexa work? If so will other people be able to access it?
  • who should be allowed access to the hub interface?
    • my landlord lives 4 hours away so if it's just them then that's not ideal
    • if it's all tenants then that's really insecure?

Potential solutions

  • VPN on anything that can, however there are many sites (netflix) that will kick you off if they detect a VPN
  • use the wifi my landlord provides and make a new network?
    • this should mean that printer/network storage work?
    • what about Alexa?
    • what about other devices that connect to WLAN?

If you were renting here would upgrading from 30Mbps phone line to 3Gbps FttP despite the security concerns and just do your best to mitigate them?

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    So asked about Alexa two times. Concerning Alexa and other IoT devices - it's always best to have a separate IoT VLAN for it. I would also recommend thinning the amount of questions, because this is quite a bit lot. May 9 at 19:29

1 Answer 1

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Ok, so before we get into the questions themselves ... lets first talk about the series of tubes that is the internet.

In pretty much ALL situations you have a device (home computer) that connects to a router (home router) that connects to your ISP's router which connects to another internet router that may or may not be within the control of your ISP.

So ... in other words its routers all the way down.

This means that your non-encrypted traffic is not really in any more danger from your neighbors than whoever your ISP connects through to get you to whatever site hosts the HTTP site.

The issues posed by your Landlord's setup are as follows:

  1. When you plug your computer into a home router you normally get an address like 192.168.0.x. This is known as an "internal" address and normally makes use of your home router to bridge traffic between Internal and External internet. The problem with your Landlords setup is that all 4x neighbors will all be on the same internal network ... eg you could theoretically print stuff on one of your neighbors printers or ddos their Ring device and lock them out of their house. The solution to this is either the Landlord setups different VLANs for each of the neighbors or you do it yourself by connecting a home router to the shared router (thus creating your own private network inside their network).

  2. If one of the neighbors does something illegal on the internet connection it will be very hard to determine who done it. Unless the Landlord logs the traffic as well as ISPs are generally required to do (highly doubt the Landlord will do this ... and thus is prob the one taking the risk).

  3. If one of your neighbors decides to consume all the bandwidth it could prevent anyone else from using it till they are done and/or get the shared connection throttled.

  4. If one of your neighbors does something bad (though not necessarily illegal) they might get your shared external IP banned from services you frequent.

with 4 flats using it the password will be common knowledge

I don't see this as being a huge problem ... All the people at a Starbucks or McDonalds know the password and share. Its less about the password and more about the interaction between the devices on the network itself. Most places that do public shared internet setup firewall rules such that communication can only occure between devices and the internet ... not other devices on the same network. Though, your landlord may or may not know how to accomplish this as it can be a bit technical.

whilst I can use a VPN for my phone/pc I can't for my printer, so either no network printing or anyone can access it

This is a non-issue if you connect a home router to the shared network, and setup a VPN on the home router. All devices on the inside of your network will make use of the VPN. Though this doesn't really buy you much as all encrypted traffic is encrypted already and all non-encrypted traffic is still not encrypted when it exits the vpn. VPNs are kind of a sham unless you really know what your doing. This should cover ALL your questions regarding VPN.

Alexa / network storage / plex server ... will this be insecure/even possible?

If your landlord doesn't setup VLANs for each of you and you dont use your own home router ... yes, you will have problems. Though these are all solvable problems as described above.

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  • "All the people at a Starbucks or McDonalds know the password and share. Its less about the password and more about the interaction between the devices on the network itself." : These networks are usually using WPA personal mode (usually WPA2-PSK). In this setup, anyone knowing the Wifi password can passively decrypt the communications at the network-level.
    – ysdx
    Jun 3 at 22:50
  • Ï… Most of the application-level data is protected by TLS, etc. nowadays but network-level metadata could be recovered such as: 1) the IP address of port of the machines you are talking to ; 2) the DNS name of the machines you are talking to (through DNS requests/responses, through SNI).
    – ysdx
    Jun 3 at 22:52

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