Nepal | May 26, 2020

NTA drafts guidelines for free public wi-fi service

Umesh Poudel
Share Now:

Kathmandu, January 25

Due to the increase in the number of cyber crimes because of the rise in use of free public wi-fi service across the country, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) — the telecommunication sector regulator — has drafted the ‘security guidelines for the operation of free wi-fi/hotspot in public places’.

According to NTA, the guidelines will be applicable to internet service providers (ISPs) where the use of hotspot is high in places like airports, shopping malls, hospitals, restaurants, colleges and schools, among others. As per the drafted guidelines, while setting up wi-fi/hotspot for themselves or for their clients and providing internet service to the users, the ISPs must comply with various conditions and security measures.

According to the guidelines, ISPs must properly configure all the factory default settings and restrict unnecessary services and ports in the access points. The ISPs must ensure all wi-fi access equipment deployed are compliant to relevant IEEE/3GPP and hotspot 2.0 standards and type approved by NTA. The ISPs must also deploy security updates and patches to all system devices to protect the system against known vulnerabilities.

“We decided to draft the guidelines as we started receiving a huge number of complaints related to cyber crimes through the use of free public wi-fi service,” said Purushottam Khanal, acting chairman of NTA. “It will be mandatory for ISPs to store the user identity (example, phone number used to register), Media Access Control address of the device, source/destination IP address, and user’s login/logout session time and save all that data in a server,” he said.

“The main purpose of introducing the guidelines is for data retention and storage to facilitate law enforcement agencies for investigation purposes,” Khanal stated.

According to the guidelines, if ISPs violate the guidelines and are unable to provide valid data to the law enforcement agencies when required, they will be penalised under the Electronic Transaction Act, 2008. As per the act, the ISPs could be liable to a fine not exceeding Rs 200,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Moreover, as per the guidelines, ISPs must implement and deploy a centralised user registration and authentication system to restrict services only to authorised users via web-based captive portal facilitating an interface to register. They can fill out personal details including phone number and authenticate the user via message in both Nepali and English language.

As per the draft guidelines, if the ISPs notice any untoward incident like security violation around hotspots they must report such incidents to the law enforcement agencies.


A version of this article appears in print on January 26, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

caanepal hacked

Indian hackers hack CAAN’s website

Kathmandu, May 24 A team of Indian hackers has hacked the official website of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal  today. A team named ‘TEAM ICREW HACKERS’ hacked CAAN’s website and placed an Indian flag on the site. After hacking the site the team left a message ‘Feel the power of Ind Read More...

Nepal-India cyber war might get uglier

Kathmandu, May 25 On May 24, a hacker took down the website of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and placed an Indian flag along with a message on its home page. The hacker’s message read, “Just because we are silent and we don’t react doesn’t mean didn’t notice.” This is Read More...

Dr Govinda KC to begin 2-day hunger strike demanding govt's attention to border and sovereignty issues

KATHMANDU: Dr Govinda KC is going to begin another hunger strike in Darchula of far-west Nepal in response to the government's indifference to education, health, and employment of people in the border areas. According to Dr Suman Acharya, who has been closely following the senior orthopedic surge Read More...

Morgan Wallen arrested after ejection from Nashville bar

NASHVILLE: Country music singer Morgan Wallen apologized Sunday following his weekend arrest on public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges. Wallen, 27, was arrested Saturday night after he was kicked out of Kid Rock’s bar in downtown Nashville, news outlets reported. Wallen said on Twi Read More...

Ranipokhari benefits from the lockdown

KATHMANDU: Reconstruction work of Ranipokhari -- a historical and archaeological monument -- has seen steady progress amidst the lockdown. There had been some difficulties in bringing the workers to the site and other issues of steady work pace, however, the reconstruction of the pond is expected Read More...

India's among 10 worst-hit COVID-19 nations as cases jump; air travel reopens

MUMBAI: India on Monday posted its biggest single-day jump in cases of COVID-19, overtaking Iran to become one of the 10 worst-hit nations, even as the government allowed domestic air travel to restart. India reported another 6,977 cases, taking its total ot 138,845, according to government dat Read More...

Prime Minister Oli extends greetings on Eid-al-Fitr

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has extended best wishes to Nepali Muslim community within and outside the country on the occasion of the Eid-al-Fitr festival today. The ninth month on the Islamic calendar is called 'Ramadan', during which, believers abstain from eating and drinking durin Read More...

New Zealand's Ardern stays cool as earthquake strikes during live interview

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was unflustered by an earthquake that struck the capital Wellington on Monday while she was doing a live TV interview, and calmly continued with the programme. Ardern, who became prime minister in 2017, is hugely popular in New Zealand f Read More...