FORT MYERS, Fla. - You may not have to share your in-home internet access password with the in-laws next time they visit. Starting next month, Comcast will debut a new service for existing customers designed to keep your personal account secure, while also giving controlled access to guests in your home.
Comcast's new X-Finity Home WiFi Hotspots will add a second separate and distinct signal to your home modem. One is yours, to be used for your personal password protected information. The second will be for your guests, so long as they are verified Comcast customers.
"Let's say you've got a babysitter over at the house," Comcasts' Justin Damiano explained to WINK News. "If you prefer not to give the babysitter your password, she can -- if she is a Comcast internet customer -- access your home's WiFi while your private inormation is still protected."
Damiano says the WiFi footprint will be no larger than a typical in-home signal, meaning somebody in a car a block away can't get in. Experts also say eliminating the need to share passwords will improve security.
But a Southwest Florida data security expert tells WINK News the same rules apply, just as with any in-home internet.
"From a security standpoint, it just adds another access point for a hacker or bad guy to get into your system," CPR Tools CEO John Benkert told WINK News. Strong, frequently changed passwords are the best way to prevent hackers from gaining access, Benkert said.
Regarding security, Comcast tells WINK News no direct connection can be made between your in-home WiFi network and the new in-home hotspot, even though they utilize the same modem.
And because the hotspots will only be accessible to Comcast customers with verified accounts, anonymity is difficult, according to officials.
Comcast says the hotspots will be provided at no additional charge to existing customers, and no equipment upgrade is necessary. Customers in Southwest Florida will start to be brought online in July.
Customers not wanting to participate may request to opt out.
But it's not just for homes. Comcast is including businesses, as well.
"It will improve a patron's experience," Damiano said. "Imagine being in a restaurant, or café, or hostpial, and being able to have access to internet services as an existing Comcast customer."