How risky is it to use an open wireless network? If you are not using both a VPN and Firewall, it can be quite risky if you have anything important data going back and forth. But what might be even more frightening, is not protecting your own network. While this may sound obvious, there are individuals out there foolish enough to argue that because you have a right to leave your network open for all to share, the law has little affect on you should someone do something illegal on that network.
Let me paint a picture for you. You opt to take this kind of advice. And as the author describes, the police do in fact, come kicking through your door as they have pegged you as a weirdo downloading who knows what from who knows where. As they are wrapping one of those little white zip ties around the hands of your wife and depending on age, your kids, you get to take solace in the advice you took from someone living in an idealogical paradise.
Wake up and smell the Folgers, folks. You are not just putting yourself at risk by running an unattended network, you have a family to consider as well. I understand that Schneier meant well in his well argued piece. But I would point out that believing that you are in the legal “right” is not going to stop you from having that heart attack when the men with machine guns and flak jackets come to ask you a few questions. Use WPA, live in the real world and most of all, rethink that subscription to WIRED.