Wi-Fi Leeching

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by True Orient, Oct 28, 2008.

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  1. True Orient

    True Orient Registered Member

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    If piggy-backing on unsecured Wi-Fi is tantamount to broadband theft, why is it that there has been very little done to declare Wi-Fi leeching a felony?
     
  2. sfi

    sfi Registered Member

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    My thought is that most people don't even know that this is bad. Some don't even know people are piggy-backing:argh:
     
  3. True Orient

    True Orient Registered Member

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    Is it a felony?
     
  4. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    In the UK it is MAY be a criminal offence:

    Communications Act for dishonestly obtaining communications services.
    So far AFAIK no-one has ever been taken to court yet in the UK over Wi-Fi leeching.

    How do you prove that someone was dishonestly using an fully open to the public service AND intentionally avoiding payment.
    Intentionally explicitly implies that you know there is a charge, but then why would you think there is a charge for using ANY fully open to the public service ?
     
  5. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    If you are getting it from a private dwelling the thought should enter your mind that you are tapping in to someone else's internet connection. anyone that wardrives or intentionally uses someones else's connection knows they aren't doing it legally unless it is at a site that advertises free internet such as some cafe's and restaurants. There are statues and laws concrning it in the U.S. also.

    and there is a difference between an open to the public internet connection and an unsecured private connection.


    (The legality of stealing your neighbor's connection is murky at best.

    "All of this stuff is so new, it's hard to say what the liability issues are," said Robert Hale, a San Francisco-based attorney who recently published an academic paper on the subject.

    Hale points out that there is a federal law on the books that ostensibly prohibits using someone's access point with out their permission)
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  6. HURST

    HURST Registered Member

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    But (and just for spice up the discussion a little), could it be considered that, given the public knowledge that "you should have a password to protect your network", having an open network is an invitation for anyone to connect freely?

    (I've seen this password recommendation on the manuals of routers, andat least here in my country ISP's remind you of that very often, there are some articles from time to time in the news, etc)
     
  7. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    How would average Joe know if he is getting wi-fi from a private dwelling without authorisation (eg my mum is baby sitting at my house and sees 5 wireless networks, how does she know which one is mine, so she just picks the default strongest one which is actually someone elses..) ?

    Again how would average Joe or my Mum know the difference ?

    I think this is a big issue of trying to consumer-ise technology and not having guidelines/standards not only for the end-user, but also the provider of the wireless network.
    Why are consumer level routers allowed to be provided without security enabled (regardless of how strong/weak) ?
    Why is there no method provided within wireless network protocols to flag private/public use (which is turn the OS could alert the user to when they try and connect) ?

    Cheers, Nick
     
  8. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Are you allowed to walk into someone's house if their front door is unlocked but the owner/occupier has not given you explicit permission ?

    I personally think there is a gap in the laws (around the world) that fail to recognise the concepts of wireless network access and instead are just applied from more generic communications laws or laws that are more appropriate to telecoms and physical connections.

    Cheers, Nick
     
  9. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    If a neighbor has not identified his/her property line and I inadvertently walk on to their property, I have committed no crime. Similarly, if I accidently or inadvertently use a neighbor's unencrypted wireless access point, I am imho committing no crime.
     
  10. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    There are several factors that come into play here. Does the EU even realize they are broadcasting? Does the "leecher" realize they are trespassing? All wireless capable routers I am aware of come by default with wireless enabled. If the EU did not purchase it for that reason then it needs to be disabled. There is documentation (many times a bit difficult to understand for the average user) included. So many users plug and play. Pat themselves on the back when it works and go on their merry way.

    If the router was purchased for wireless use the same pretty much applies. MS and router manufacturers have come a long way in making wireless easy for the average user. The user never thinks beyond the fact that they are connected....or just how it works. They have no clue of the possible range of the signal nor the fact that if they can connect so can anyone else.

    Then there is intent. Does the EU know their bandwidth is being "shared"? Do they care? Many "average" users who I have assisted over the years have the attitude "if it does not effect me then I do not care".

    Does the "leech" know they are trespassing? Does he know he is not welcome? Does he even understand what he is doing other the being able to surf. What is his intent? Just to surf, or to gain access to the PCs on the open network?

    IMO. If you have not paid for it then it is not yours. If you do not have direct permission then do not use it.
     
  11. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    plenty of people steal other people's internet connection. somepeople know and somepeople dont. most routers ship with names like "netgear" or linksys" with no password. the isp i use BT gives a router called the bt home hub. may not be the most reliable router but as default has wpa/wpa2 encrytion.
    the first time you connect to the web interface you have to type in a two pieces of information from the back of the device and change the password before even allowed access to the web interface.
    of course i went eiether further changed the ssid so i know its mine and changed the wpa Key.

    the manuals mention how to secure routers yes but most people think it looks hard and cant be bothered.
    without making it easy and forcing users to secure the router they simply wont do it.
     
  12. True Orient

    True Orient Registered Member

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    I'll assume we all have the same definition of "theft" so what has been discussed in essence were:
    1. Free Wi-Fi.The door is open. Anyone can enter.
    2. Wi-Fi with default settings.The door is closed. But has not been locked.
    3. The door is closed. But not locked securely.

    So far, these three scenarios constitute the gray areas. Can anything be done?
     
  13. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    Agreed. But do not trust it for anything other then the most basic of surfing.

    The default settings I have seen on wireless routers are wide open. No closed door at all. However, an honest person knocks and asks for entry before opening any door that is not theirs`.

    The lock is a symbol of denial of entry by anyone not possessing a key. Regardless of how cheap\easy the lock is to pick.

    Education of the End User.
     
  14. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    there is an ald saying that fits here. "Ignorance is no excuse in the law" if you get caught it is up to you to prove you didn't know, not the laws duty to prove you did. you know it's illegal and so do I and i would bet most users would know. Also just because a person has a wireless system and doesn't have the knowledge to secure it do you think that gives you the right to connect and use what they are paying for without their permission??
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  15. True Orient

    True Orient Registered Member

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    Great point! But it raises the question: Are there any specific laws (especially in the USA) that says in no uncertain terms that it is a felony?
     
  16. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    There ia federal law on the books that could be brought to bear if they really wanted to.



    (Hale points out that there is a federal law on the books that ostensibly prohibits using someone's access point with out their permission) you break a federal law it is usually a felony
     
  17. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Its not about knowing if its legal or not, its about doing it intentionally rather than accidentally.

    So if they don't know how to secure a wireless network, it is logical that they won't have the knowledge to determine when they are connecting to a private network.
    That re-enforces my opinion that the laws/standards are very one sided as I previously mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  18. True Orient

    True Orient Registered Member

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    I'm no techie so I have to ask... will it help if manufacturers configure AP's not to broadcast SSID's by default?
     
  19. culla

    culla Registered Member

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    if somebody throws a ball into your yard legally its yours
    if somebody throws an unsecured wireless connection into my house legally i can use it and i will
     
  20. FastGame

    FastGame Registered Member

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  21. True Orient

    True Orient Registered Member

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    I really would have preferred a discussion based on legalities, rather than on ethical /moral issues.
    A ball thrown into your yard is not yours just as a child that strays into your driveway is not yours. On the other hand, if you insist on keeping that child based on your logic, you're in deep sh** for kidnapping.

    Theft is theft... that is the taking of something without consent.
     
  22. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    It is? :rolleyes:

    By that analogy you are entitled to free, for example, Sirius radio if you have the ability to decode the signal? :eek:
     
  23. culla

    culla Registered Member

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    here in australia legally the ball is mine and thats a fact i collected 11 soccer balls in 1 day after speaking to a lawyer, only after doing this the school across the road raised the fences i was sick of returning balls everyday and they did nothing about it until i kept them
    my neighbour turned their security on :argh:
     
  24. True Orient

    True Orient Registered Member

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    I disagree. That is simply your lawyer's opinion...
     
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