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EFF releases experimental open wireless router firmware

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced the release of the alpha version of an Open Wireless Router firmware. It was officially announced at the HOPE X (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in New York City.

Open Wireless Router is an EFF project that aims to make sharing wireless networks for public use a breeze. And the open wireless router firmware is what’s supposed to make that possible.

Users will only be required to download the firmware and flash a compatible wireless router with it.

According to the release announcement, the open wireless router software is designed to:

  • Allow small business and home users to easily enable an open network, so guests and passersby can get an Internet connection if they need one, while keeping a password-locked WPA2 network for themselves and their friends or coworkers.
  • Let you share a bounded portion of your bandwidth on the open network, so guest users cannot slow down your Internet connection or use a large portion of your monthly quota.
  • Provide state-of-the-art network queuing, so most users can expect an improved Internet experience—especially with latency-sensitive applications—compared to what commonly available consumer grade routers are delivering today.
  • Offer a minimalist, secure, and elegant Web user interface to set up and configure the router. Advanced, non-minimalist administrative options are accessible by SSH.
  • Advance the state of the art in consumer Wi-Fi router security and begin turning back the growing tide of attacks against them. Most or all existing router software is full of XSS and CSRF vulnerabilities, and we want to change that.
  • Include a secure software auto-update mechanism. In addition to using HTTPS, firmware signatures and metadata are fetched via Tor to make targeted update attacks very difficult.

Open Wireless Router firmware

This experimental version of the firmware has been optimized to run on just one router model – Netgear WNDR3800. If you have that model, you may download the firmware from here. A step-by-step guide on how to flash the router is available here. Intrepid hackers out there are free to try it out on any other router. If it works, let the rest of us know. I don’t have a disposable router, so I’ll be watching this from the sidelines.

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