Google knows nearly every Wi-Fi password in the world

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7) Would you tell Google your Wi-Fi password? You probably already did... July 18, 2013 by Paul Ducklin writing for the Sophos Naked Security blog. Ducklin writes

... the data is encrypted in transit, and Google (for all we know) probably stores it encrypted at the other end. But it's not encrypted in the sense of being inaccessible to anyone except you ...  Google can unilaterally recover the plaintext of your Wi-Fi passwords, precisely so it can return those passwords to you quickly and conveniently ... 

8) Android Backups Could Expose Wi-Fi Passwords to NSA July 19, 2013 by Ben Weitzenkorn of TechNewsDaily. This same story also appeared at nbcnews.com and mashable.com.

9) Despite Google’s statement, they still have access to your wifi passwords July 19, 2013 by Micah Lee on his personal blog. Lee rebuts the Google spokesperson response to the Ars Technica article.

10) Oi, Google, you ate all our Wi-Fi keys - don't let the spooks gobble them too July 23, 2013 by John Leyden for The Register. Leyden writes: "Privacy experts have urged Google to allow Android users' to encrypt their backups in the wake of the NSA PRISM surveillance flap."

11) Google: Keep Android Users' Secure Network Passwords Secure August 5, 2013 by Micah Lee and David Grant of the EFF. They write 

Fixing the flaw is more complicated than it might seem. Android is an open source operating system developed by Google. Android Backup Service is a proprietary service offered by Google, which runs on Android. Anyone can write new code for Android, but only Google can change the Android Backup Service.

To conclude on a Defensive Computing note, those that need Wi-Fi at home should consider using a router offering a guest network.

Make sure that Android devices accessing the private network are not backing up settings to Google. This is not realistic for the guest network, but you can enable the guest network only when needed and then shut it down afterwards. Also, you can periodically change the password of the guest network without impacting your personal wireless devices.

At this point, everybody should probably change their Wi-Fi password.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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