Apologies if this has been asked countless times. I've seen it a few times around here however they usually pertain to someone having written permission. And I don't...

Or if someone could post a duplicate thread with more information.

I recently finished my ethical hacking course in uni. I've competed in several cyber security competitions. But I want to continue my practice over the summer because there is another competition next fall.

If I want to use tools such as Aircrack and WiFiPhisher to see if I can get wifi passwords and use Wireshark to see if I can sniff my own traffic. I am able to do this with no consequence on my own private home network, correct? If I pay for my internet, do I not need permission from my ISP?

  • This is more of a legal question, not an infosec question. In the USA at least, it is legal as long as you own it. (This statement is an opinion and is not legal advice.)
    – forest
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 22:55
  • Especially passive stuff, it is fine unless you are using it for malicious purposes.
    – multithr3at3d
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 23:35
  • 5
    Note that something can be legal but still against the terms of service for a company. Your ISP may be fully within its rights to terminate your service without refund because you didn't read the fine print that says that you aren't allowed to pentest your own ISP-provided router.
    – forest
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 1:48
  • 2
    You might want to see the answers here: Can I test my own network?
    – J. Taylor
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 7:59
  • @forest what references would site for defining "ownership" of a network and the legality of using it in the mannar specified in the question?
    – Chezzwizz
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 0:28

1 Answer 1


You might explore the concept a little more in consideration and especially as it relates to ownership and contracts. That is to say you might need to better define what it means to "own" your home network (are you paying the bill or is it your roomate? Did you sign the subscriber agreement? etc.).

Exploring what you mean by your network might also be useful. In particular, are you setting up a kind of virtual network on a single computer or a small set of hubs and swtiches and exploring those, or are you setting up several segments or browsing exsting segments on "your" network as they already existed with security protocols in place (e.g. where some may be connected to corporate networks, VPN, or other Internet based services? Would you know?)

If you find that you might have some amiguity, always remember you can set up a benign network or virtual network that doesn't require an internet connection at all to use many of the functions that you learn about in such networking and infosec courses.

Edit: In order to better specify the idea presented in my answer, I should have mentioned an "unless" you are only able to conduct your learning in an internet (as opposed to intranet or lab) setting. That is to say, again, if you use a lab that is airgapped from the internet and are using infrastructure you own, no worries. If you are using internet that is in anyway shared and you are not the one under contract, then there may be issues of liability to consider.

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